When most of think of comfort food we think of fare that’s relatively simple, not too sophisticated and quite honestly regard it as simple meals that we hardly give a second thought concerning how best to present it, what it might pair well with or whether or not our favorite dishes in this genre even belong in restaurants. I mean after all; aren’t comfort foods simply filling dishes served in mismatched plates and bowls worthy of little more acknowledgement other than to quickly down a helping then maybe comment on how it differed somewhat from your Mother’s version?
Think again my friend. Most “comfort food” has it’s roots in surprisingly exotic and far off locations. The truth of the matter is that the majority of our comfort foods come from an attempt to approximate dishes of an immigrant populations homeland and the recipes concocted in the good ol’ U.S. were developed by sacrificing the familiar for what was available in the neighborhoods and boroughs expatriated folks found themselves occupying.
Comfort foods have a fascinating history and the name itself implies it’s intentions: to bring comfort to a weary heart longing for the familiar.
It doesn’t take too much imagination when you begin considering dishes like Mac and Cheese as coming from it’s heartier and generally more sophisticated older brother Maccaroni. Even the hamburger has its roots far from our shores. That’s right Johnny Patriot, the good old all American burger comes from Hamburg Germany and it literally means Steak prepared in the Hamburg style.
Comfort foods are much more than merely simple dishes that are easy to prepare and even easier to get a finicky child to eat. They are dishes that in most cases represent the very heart and soul of what makes our nation great, the fusions and adaptations of great cultural traditions finding a home in the arms of America. – Take that food snobs.