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Comfort Foods
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:14 pm    Post subject: comfort food Reply with quote

119 (!!!!!) entries, David , you are definitely a record breaker. I have the honor to be no. 120 . ( 120 is a lucky number in jewish culture- when you wish somebody happiness you always say-up to 120 ( years)!
20 of our forum friends have mentioned macaroni and cheese as their favourite comfort food. Grilled cheese was another favourite. It's like a globlization of comfort food.
Chocolate has been mentioned much less than expected.
What can I add?: As a romanian born , a russian mother, israeli grown up and french educated, nearly all food is comfort food for me. But if I dig deep down in my ever hungry soul ( and body), its "mameluchen" - meaning( in Iddish) home made mamma food. Like in the famous song, I love Shnitzel and noodles, apfel strudel , and the inevitable chicken soup - I have a Jewish mother!! - But, Lady, we never eat Matzo balls except for Passover. SO we'll have them in two weeks, and once a year is enough.
Another soulfood ( comfort food) is what italians call polenta, but we, romanians call "mamaliga". Its a coarser kind of polenta, boiled in salted water, on which we pour sour cream, feta-like cheese ( it is not feta really, it's called bulgarian cheese and is a salty firm white cheese). It really sticks to the ribs.
And of course, any kind of pasta with cheese. My recipe is different from all the others because it's not a recipe : you boil the pasta ( not al dente,but soft, east european style) and then add whatever leftovers of cheese you have in your fridge, pour a lot of sour cream, salt pepper and nutmeg, and to the oven. We like it with a crusty brown top, and my husband is exceptionally allowed to eat the dish orizontally- i mean the crust goes first. Sometimes we re-put the dish in the oven and so we have a second crust. A green fresh salad and a glass of red wine- it's a feast.

No more war, more soul food
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Crow4ever



Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 16
Location: Washington State now but from South Australia

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comfort food for me can be anyone of the following ...

... a thick slice of buttered wholemeal bread topped with a generous helping of Vegemite

... a lamington

... a wedge of shortbread

... celery filled with peanut butter

... a handful of dry roasted almonds

... a 'spider' (Just place a scoop or 2 of vanilla ice cream in a glass, add soft drink of choice and enjoy!)
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simona- Is there a reason you only have matzo ball soup once a year? My family loves it and, tho we're not Jewish, we eat it frequently. It's a staple at any deli in the Los Angeles area. And, if my memory of the East Coast isn't playing tricks on me, back in NY state as well.

How about kreplachs in your soup? Would you reserve that for Passover as well?
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if this comfort-food concept is not really about the food but more about the attitude of the person at the time of eating and during the preparation of the food?

To me, comfort food is anything which I anticipate after a trial or long day or any day. My thinking is that comfort food is typically eaten alone. Or as a separate dish while others are engaged in their own activities -- watching TV, for example.

I also consider comfort food to be the antithesis of holiday or celebration food. Sometimes we eat with others as part of a ritual or celebration. That's more of a party atmosphere and not something I associate with comfort.

Maybe a separate question is: Is it still "comfort food" if it is eaten with a party of other people?
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simona -- your pasta in the oven with cheese and crust sounds like something I would enjoy. Your husband eats it "horizontally" meaning he eats the crust then digs down to the lower layers? Interesting word to describe eating -- horizontal versus vertical eating. Smile

I also consider Italian polenta a comfort food. To me, most bland food like oats, pasta and such are comfortable. Those foods don't steal your attention like more exotic dishes. You can concentrate on other things besides the food during eating. That's comfort.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 11:04 pm    Post subject: comfort food Reply with quote

Hello Rainey
1.Matzo balls are a special food for Passover, as it is made of Matzo meal and not from regular flour. During Passover ( 8 days - this year 24-30 april) it is forbidden to eat any food containing flour. We have to eat Matzos ( uneavened"bread", made of flour- but specially prepared) in memory of the flight of the israelites from Egypt .They departed in a hurry, and had no time to prepare leavened bread. Of course it's not forbidden to eat Matzo balls all year round, but then, it wouldn't be special during Passover.
Moreover, Matzo ball are a speciality of Jews originary from Middle and eastern Europe, Jews from Marrocco for example, have other Passover culinary traditions.
2. Kreplach - of course not during passover, they are flour dumpling.
Kreplach means little "Crepes" , stuffed with meat ( go with the soup),but sometimes stuffed with cheese and even sweet cheese or cherries. It depends what your origins is . It's a dish mainly prepared by Eastern European jews, poles, russians etc.
It's quite a revelation to me that these typical jewish ( east european mainly) dishes are appreciated by other communities. I imagine it's popular especially in NY where there are many Delicatessen Restaurants.
Maybe in the future, I'll open a topic about Various Jewish ethnic food.

Sarape, I agree with you: comfort food is mainly something you eat when you're alone, in blue mood or just melancholic. Therefore most of the comfort food is starchy and/or sweet. It "fills" you when you feel "empty" . But on the other hand, comfort food is also the basic onepot dish you cook for an informal or spontaneus gathering, be it a sad occasion or just when friends pop in. It's food you feel comfortable with, it something familiar, like an old pair of slippers.
Simple as that. But it's definitely no festive food.

Good night

No more war, more comfort!
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 11:31 pm    Post subject: comfort food Reply with quote

Thanks Sarape, and yes , by horizontally I mean crust first.
I noticed that there two basic ways people eat teir food: horizontally an vertically, For example' take Ice cream topped with whipped cream. There those who eat first the whipped cream, then layer by layer the ice cream. These are the horizontal ones ( eating the crust first- remember). And then are those , like me most of the times , who eat vertically : I plunge my spoon deep in the glass so I come out with all the ingredients in one mouthful. That's the way I eat my food too: never each item separately ( horizontal) but something of everything on the fork.
Innocent idiosyncrazies...


No more war, more ice cream! ( funny nobody mentioned ice cream as comfort food!)
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never actually had Matzo Ball soup but since moving to NY I see it everywhere. What is it like? Also as it nears Passover the stores are overflowing with all sorts of Jewish specialties, in Washington there isn't quite the assortment. I have been tempted to try somethings out, but I don't know what to try. Latkes are pretty much the only dish I am familiar with, I could eat them by the truck full.
Yes Simona, you should really start that thread.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:43 pm    Post subject: comfort food Reply with quote

Hello Erin and all Matzo balls lovers, Passover is in the air , and what can be more typical than Matzo balls. So these are balls done from Matzo meal, eggs, salt peeper and a little bit of vegetal oil, shaped in balls ( small or big) and cooked in chicken broth, You may add dill and parsley, , maybe a grated carrot.
We kids always used to call these balls "cannon bullets" - they are so solid ; you eat one, you're balooned. My mother used to make more fluffy ones, ( whipped white eggs), bus still, it's not one of my favourites, Today you can find ready to make matzo balls mix; you add eggs and that's done.
As for other Passover traditional food: coconut cookies, gefilte fish ( carp fish balls) , chicken soup of course, zimmes - glazed carrots with dried fruit . But as I mentioned before, each jewish community has it's on traditional Passover food. At my "Seder" table in two weeks ( Seder is the first night of the passover week when we read the story of the flight from Egypt) we'll be 17. I'll serve chicken soup with ...Matzo balls, chopped liver, baked carp with herbs, whole leg of Lamb ( my family tradition since I remember myself - Romania is part of the Balkans , more or less), chicken with dried fruits ( the kids love it), baked baby potatoes with rosemary and olive oil, Asparagus with Vinaigrette, green salad with walnuts and pomello slices. For desert, strawberries for those on a diet , and last but not least , the glorious passover dark chocolate walnut cake, rich and moist. Strong coffee ( black, boiled turkish coffee) , will conclude the dinner. No more food until next day lunch...
Oh, I like to talk ( write ) about food sooooo (too )much...

P.S. Latkes - the potato pankakes, are a favorite passover treat, as they contain no flour. I like them with sour cream, but many eat them with sugar or with apple puree.

No more war, more dark chocolate walnut cake!
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a fantastic sounding feast simona! Squeeze over and set me a place too.

Believe it or not I had chopped liver for the first time last year. Loved it of course, am very fond of liver.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 8:58 pm    Post subject: comfort food Reply with quote

Hi david, You're welcome, with your partner . Can you leave the dogs with a dog-sitter?
Now, seriously, I understand you are well travelled, so a pilgrimage to the Holy Land could be a future option?!? I'm a certified guide ( though that's not what I'm doing for a living), and politics aside , it's a beautiful and very interesting country.

No more war!
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Judy writing with her moderators cap on)

simona could you please start a new thread on Passover and copy your post describing traditional Passover food to it? This thread is getting very long and it would be a shame for forum members to miss out on all your wonderful information.

Thanks
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simona--what a generous offer---and I won't (or am incapable of) saying never!!
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Lexi



Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:52 am    Post subject: unique comfort foods....! Reply with quote

Hi, I'm new to this blog and just became a member, but I'd like to say that matzo balls are definitely up there on the comfort food list, but I must warn those claiming never to have tasted a matzo ball that if you do not get a matzo ball that is from a Jewish mother who is a great cook and/or a really good Delicatessan, you risk either biting into a golfball/baseball/pile of mush/ gloopy blob ...that is tasteless/over-dosed with sodium/grainy....just to name a few... haha.. but they CAN be very tasty if done correctly in a yummy chicken soup!!!

As well, I would like to mention that I was born in south africa and thus my comfort food list is slightly diverse:

boerworse- a really tasty meat sausage that tastes MUCH better than it sounds
biltong- a dried meat ( similar to beef jerky but way way way better)
sunny side-up eggs over-easy- mmmmmmmm...with some toast..need i say more??
Lucky charms and Sugar Crisp- I loved these cereals growing up and HELLO cereal is probably the ULTIMATE comfort food!!! ( well, according to me anyway)
I aslo used to love chocolate or strawbery nesquick in milk with some Chips a Hoy chocolate Chunk cookies...triple chocolate were the best...late at night during sleepovers...of course

and of course..being jewish, holiday foods have always meant something to me...matzo ball soup on passover, apples in honey on Rosh Hashana, Matzo Brai or Geshmirta matzo on passover...dellicious btw...and challah french toast of course!!!

just wanted to give my two cents worth!! lol
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome, Lexi.

I'd love to know more about the special foods and recipes you associate with Passover, Rosh Hashana and other Jewish celebrations, but I really feel they deserve their own corner of the forums, so I'm starting a Passover and Other Jewish Celebrations topic. Challah French Toast sounds divine! Do you have a special recipe for it, or is the secret in the challah?
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