i had a crappy week this week and turned, as im sure many chowhounds do, to some comforting food, the last 2 nights. The first night I used my rice cooker to make a rice soup/porridge/congee sort of dish, with leftover smoked pork chop bits, frozen peas and corn, mushrooms and the spices found in 5 spice powder. (t was a clean out the fridge sort of soup) The next night i made some dashi, flavored it with soy ginger and mirin, added tofu udon noodles scallions and japanese 7 spice.
I guess what made them both comfort food for me was the warm soupiness. but while i was eating the udon it struck me that despite the similarity of being soup based (and sorta asian inspired) how different these 2 dishes were - one a complex melange of flavors with dense rice and chunks of meat and veg, and the other almost minimalist as only japanese cuisine can be, and yet both worked as comfort food. This got me musing on how many different foods can be seen as comfort food from heavy and rich dishes - meatloaf mashed potatoes etc, or relatively simple light ones like the aforementioned udon.
I'm not sure what i'm getting at here, but i wanted to share these thoughts with my fellow CHs and i guess get a sense of the range of what food gives you a hug.
some other comfort foods off the top of my head:
(these last 3 clearly from my childhood and ethnic heritage)
dutch style pancakes
sometime a good cheeseburger
what are some of yours? I'm especially interested in people who have radicaly different foods they still consider comfort food
(does this topic make any sense or have any traction? we shall see)