Comfort food

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For the Noah Ashenhurst novel, see Comfort Food (novel).
Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food that is found across various cultures.

Comfort food is traditional food which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the consumer,[1] and is often characterized by a high carbohydrate level and simple preparation.[2] The nostalgic element most comfort food has may be specific to either the individual or a specific culture.[3]

Psychological studies[edit]

Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological effects or to increase positive feelings.[4] The term was first used, according to Webster's Dictionary, in 1977.

One study divided college-students' comfort-food identifications into four categories (nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods) with a special emphasis on the deliberate selection of particular foods to modify mood or effect, and indications that the medical-therapeutic use of particular foods may ultimately be a matter of mood-alteration.[5]

The identification of particular items as comfort food may be idiosyncratic, though patterns are detectable. In one study of American preferences, "males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles, and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). In addition, younger people preferred more snack-related comfort foods compared to those over 55 years of age." The study also revealed strong connections between consumption of comfort foods and feelings of guilt.[6]

Comfort food consumption has been seen as a response to emotional stress and, consequently, as a key contributor to the epidemic of obesity in the United States.[7] The provocation of specific hormonal responses leading selectively to increases in abdominal fat is seen as a form of self-medication.[8]

Further studies suggest that consumption of comfort food is triggered in men by positive emotions, and by negative ones in women.[9] The stress effect is particularly pronounced among college-aged women, with only 33% reporting healthy eating choices during times of emotional stress.[10] For women specifically, these psychological patterns may be maladaptive.[11]

A therapeutic use of these findings includes offering comfort foods or "happy hour" beverages to anorectic geriatric patients whose health and quality of life otherwise decreases with reduced oral intake.[12]

By country[edit]

Australia and New Zealand[edit]

Australian comfort foods include the following foods:[13][14]


Main article: British cuisine
Bangers and mash is a British comfort food.[16]

British comfort foods include the following foods:[17][18][19]


Main article: French cuisine


Main article: Indonesian cuisine
Bubur ayam (chicken congee) is an Indonesian comfort food.

Some popular Indonesian foods are considered to be comfort food, usually served hot or warm, and soupy or with a soft texture. In Indonesia, the warm and soft texture of bubur ayam is believed to help people to recover during convalescence.[20] Some Indonesian comfort foods are traditional Indonesian food and some are derived from Chinese influences. For some Indonesians, especially those who are abroad, comfort food might also be a certain brand or type of Indonesian instant noodle, such as Indomie Mi goreng.[21] Indonesian comfort foods include:



Main article: Polish cuisine

Polish comfort food include the following foods:

  • Barszcz z uszkami (clear beetroot soup with forest mushrooms tortellini)
  • Boczek (Smoked pork belly)
  • Bigos (hunters stew)
  • Budyń waniliowy z malinami (vanilla pudding with raspberries)
  • Kotlet schabowy (pork schnitzel)
  • Flaki (tripe)
  • Golonka
  • Gulasz (goulash)
  • Zupa grzybowa (Mushroom soup)
  • Jagody ze śmietaną (blueberries with cream)
  • Kapuśniak (sauerkraut soup)
  • Kopytka (polish gnocchi)
  • Łazanki
  • Makaron ze śmietaną i truskawkami (pasta with cream and strawberries)
  • Mielone z ziemniakami i mizerią (pork burgers with mashed potato and fresh cucumbers sour cream salad)
  • Naleśniki z twarogiem (pancakes with milk curd)
  • Zupa ogórkowa (cucumber soup)
  • Placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes)
  • Rosół (Chicken soup with fine noodles)
  • Sernik (baked cheesecake)
  • Śledź w oleju (Pickled herring)
  • Zupa pomidorowa (clear tomato soup with rice or noodles)
  • Zupa szczawiowa (sorrel soup served with boiled egg)
  • Żurek (sour rye soup)

Russia and Ukraine[edit]

Russian and Ukrainian comfort foods include the following foods:


Main article: Taiwanese cuisine


Main article: Turkish cuisine

In Turkish, comfort food is closest in meaning to the term Turkish: Anne yemeği, "mother's dish", especially in terms of providing a nostalgic feeling, or Turkish: Ev yemeği, "home dish". Some of Turkish comfort foods are:

United States[edit]

Macaroni and cheese is an American comfort food.[37]

American comfort foods include the following foods:


  1. ^ "Comfort Food." (definition). Accessed July 2011.
  2. ^ "Comfort food". The Free Dictionary By Farlex. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Rufus, Anneli (June 22, 2011). "Explaining the Psychology of Comfort Food". Gilt Taste. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Wansink, Brian; Sangerman, Cynthia (July 2000). "Engineering comfort foods". American Demographics: 66–7. 
  5. ^ Locher, Julie L.; Yoels, William C.; Maurer, Donna; Van Ells, Jillian (2005). "Comfort Foods: An Exploratory Journey into the Social and Emotional Significance of Food". Food and Foodways 13 (4): 273–97. doi:10.1080/07409710500334509. 
  6. ^ Wansink, B; Cheney, M; Chan, N (2003). "Exploring comfort food preferences across age and gender". Physiology & Behavior 79 (4–5): 739–47. doi:10.1016/S0031-9384(03)00203-8. PMID 12954417. 
  7. ^ Dallman, Mary F.; Pecoraro, Norman; Akana, Susan F.; La Fleur, Susanne E.; Gomez, Francisca; Houshyar, Hani; Bell, M. E.; Bhatnagar, Seema; Laugero, Kevin D.; Manalo, Sotara (2003). "Chronic stress and obesity: A new view of 'comfort food'". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100 (20): 11696–701. doi:10.1073/pnas.1934666100. JSTOR 3147854. PMC 208820. PMID 12975524. 
  8. ^ Dallman, Mary F.; Pecoraro, Norman C.; La Fleur, Susanne E. (2005). "Chronic stress and comfort foods: Self-medication and abdominal obesity". Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 19 (4): 275–80. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2004.11.004. PMID 15944067. 
  9. ^ Dube, L; Lebel, J; Lu, J (2005). "Affect asymmetry and comfort food consumption". Physiology & Behavior 86 (4): 559–67. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.08.023. PMID 16209880. 
  10. ^ Kandiah, Jayanthi; Yake, Melissa; Jones, James; Meyer, Michaela (2006). "Stress influences appetite and comfort food preferences in college women". Nutrition Research 26 (3): 118–23. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2005.11.010. 
  11. ^ Lebel, J; Lu, J; Dube, L (2008). "Weakened biological signals: Highly-developed eating schemas amongst women are associated with maladaptive patterns of comfort food consumption". Physiology & Behavior 94 (3): 384–92. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.02.005. PMID 18325547. 
  12. ^ Wood, Paulette; Vogen, Barbra D (1998). "Feeding the anorectic client: Comfort foods and happy hour". Geriatric Nursing 19 (4): 192–4. doi:10.1016/S0197-4572(98)90153-7. PMID 9866509. 
  13. ^ "Australian Comfort Food Recipes". 
  14. ^ "Ultimate Comfort Food". ninemsn Food. ninemsn. 
  15. ^ a b Romero, Jo (27 September 2012). "Comfort foods from around the world". Yahoo! Lifestyle UK. Yahoo!. 
  16. ^ "Bangers and mash most popular comfort food as Britons eat more during credit crunch". London: Telegraph. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  17. ^ "All-time classic British comfort food recipes". Delicious Magazine. 
  18. ^ "Comfort food recipes". BBC Good Food. BBC. 
  19. ^ "British comfort food to make your mouth water". The Daily Telegraph (London). 22 March 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d e Fitria Rahmadianti (26 September 2012). "Comfort Food, Makanan Yang Bikin Nyaman dan Kangen" (in Indonesian). Detik Food. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Indomie - Mi Goreng
  22. ^
  23. ^ Comfort Food Helps Indonesian Maid Recover
  24. ^ a b c BBC: Barack Obama's Indonesia charm offensive
  25. ^ VL. "Nasi Tim Warisan" (in Indonesian). Femina. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "Indonesian Steamed Rice with Chicken/Nasi Tim Ayam". What to Cook Today?. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  27. ^ Chowhound Indonesia - Soto Ayam at Malioboro Country
  28. ^ Ardis, Susan (7 November 2012). "Pierogies: Comfort food, Polish style". The State. 
  29. ^ Scatts (17 January 2011). "What Is Polish "Comfort Food"?". Polandian. Wordpress. 
  30. ^ Izlar, Camille (14 February 2013). "Polish Comfort Food: Best Way to Stay Warm". Steve Dolinsky. 
  31. ^ "10 Classic Taiwanese Dishes". LA Weekly. 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  32. ^ a b "45 Taiwanese foods we can't live without". CNN. 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  33. ^ a b "Tasty snacks go well with TaiwanFest fun". The Georgia Straight. 2008. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  34. ^ a b "Taiwan’s Top Winter Comfort Foods". The Wall Street Journal. 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  35. ^ "The ultimate comfort food: manti, or turkish dumplings". LA Weekly. 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  36. ^ "Manti: A Food Without Borders". The Atlantic. 2009. Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  37. ^ a b c Joseph, Dana (10 May 2012). "American food: the 50 greatest dishes". CNN Travel. 
  38. ^ Slotnik, Daniel E. (26 May 2012). "What's Your Comfort Food?". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]