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What is it about comfort foods that makes them so darn… comforting? What about these foods gives us a sense of safety and security like wearing a warm blanket fresh from the dryer or getting a hug from your mom? While ‘comfort foods’ themselves differ across cultures and locations, there are a few traits that most of them have in common. Comfort foods are, in general, high in calories, high in carbohydrates, and can be created through simple preparation, making them a delicious guilty pleasure for when you need to indulge. Here are a few common comfort foods found in the U.S. and how to prepare them for the next time you find yourself needing a pick-me-up.
- Chicken Noodle Soup. Whether you’re feeling sad, sick, or tired, few things say comfort quite like a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup.
- Fried Chicken. Nothing beats sinking your teeth into a piece of perfectly fried chicken. With juicy meat, crispy skin, and delicious breading, this food will warm your belly and your soul.
- Mashed Potatoes. There’s something about mashed potatoes that recalls a time in life when you used to gather around the table for Sunday dinner. Paired with the perfect gravy, they can make anyone feel at home.
- Ice Cream. There’s a reason that chick-flicks and break-ups are synonymous with ice cream binge-eating. In vanilla, chocolate, double chocolate fudge crunch, and countless other flavors, you can always find comfort.
- Spaghetti & Meatballs. It doesn’t matter whether you’re full-blooded Italian or if you think your grandmother visited Italy once one summer, you don’t need to come from the Mediterranean to feel at home when you’re eating this family favorite.
Biscuits & Gravy. Nothing says Southern comfort quite like biscuits and sausage gravy. Fluffy, flaky biscuits topped with savory sausage gravy is not only perfect for breakfast, but for any time of the day.
- Collard Greens. Speaking of Southern comfort, this slow-cooked dish always takes people back to the days when their mama used to make them. Make sure to cook them long enough so they don’t come out bitter!
- Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup. Like french fries and ketchup or chocolate and peanut butter, the combination of grilled cheese and tomato soup is delicious, simple, and reminiscent of childhood.
- Pancakes. Although they’ve been branded a breakfast food, there’s no reason that you can’t enjoy fluffy pancake goodness at any point throughout the day. Make the recipe your own by adding some of your favorite fresh fruit to the mix.
- Apple Pie. Like baseball, hot dogs, and the fourth of July, apple pie is as American as you can get, and a delicious dessert to make you feel at home wherever you are.
- Pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza? Chances are that if you’re like most Americans, you have at least pizza place saved to your contacts and maybe even one on speed dial (I’m not here to judge). It’s the perfect food for parties, a busy night running errands, or just because.
- Chocolate. The reason chocolate makes us feel good actually comes down to a chemical level. It contains the chemicals phenylethylamine (otherwise known as ‘the love drug’) and tryptophan, which triggers the release of serotonin in your brain. Whatever the reason, chocolate is delicious and can certainly pick you up when you’re feeling down.