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Comfort Foods
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David



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

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 5:37 pm    Post subject: Comfort Foods Reply with quote

This is such a delightfully diverse group with people from all over the place. I was wondering what people from different areas consider to be "comfort food", those foods that one falls back on when depressed or just feeling the need for a bit of coddling. (hmm, coddled eggs would certainly work here). My comfort foods are for the most part the standard north american/british ones---hot oatmeal with cream and brown sugar, grilled cheese sandwich (sharp Canadian cheddar, nothing else will do), Campbell's tomato soup, macaroni and cheese (not served in our house as my partner and I are completely at odds as to how macaroni and cheese should be prepared), and when the winter blahs set in come January/February when the sun goes down at 4 p.m. and the temperature dips to -30 I whomp up a batch of tapenade and let the flavours take me to the South of France and bask in the sun for a brief period.
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Rainey



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

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting topic and *all* excellent comforters! ;> I'd add bread pudding with lots of cinnamon & raisins. And try work out your mac & cheese thing. It's *essential*! ;> ...even if it has to come in two different flavors or textures.
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monkey



Joined: 08 Oct 2004
Posts: 87
Location: in the kitchen with a large bar of chocolate

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

david, i am shocked! no macaroni and cheese in your house! please, for everyone's good, agree to disagree and each of you make your own macaroni and cheese for your own consumption. a house is not a home without macaroni and cheese.
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monkey

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E.



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Chicago, IL, USA, by way of California

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing comforts me more than very spicy kimchi soup with coldish rice. It needs to be spicy enough to make me almost cry. Mmm.
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David



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

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I've only ever known Kimchi (in all it's variations of spelling) as a delightful cold side dish,presuming we are talking about the odorous but delicious "aged" cabbage, garlic and hot pepper concoction.

Now about the mac and cheese, I like it baked in a covered,deep casserole dish with just tons of lovely gooey cheese, a bit of dijon, some cream, maybe topped with sliced tomato, nothing fancy but the Dickster likes it baked in an uncovered shallow tray with a minimum of cheese, no moisture added(well not much) and covered in parmesan, then baked to the point that the top breaks your teeth, not to mention we have a "I cook, you clean" rule and cleaning up after that has baked itself rigid is no easy task. But it took me 20 years to tell him Very Happy
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Rainey



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

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David wrote:
... not to mention we have a "I cook, you clean" rule and cleaning up after that has baked itself rigid is no easy task. But it took me 20 years to tell him Very Happy


Oh, that's too cute and sweet! Cummon! You must have heard of the disposable casseroles by now in Ottawa! Get a couple and have some comfortable old mac & cheese together again. Wink

In my family we like it the unusual way my mother made it. Layers of naked macaroni topped with thick layers of shredded sharp cheese piled deep in a casserole. You pour bechamel with a little Colman's mustard & cayenne (OK, those last two are my additions) in it over the top and finish with another thick layer of sharp cheese. This is not creamy at all. It's very hearty and it gets a very nice (but dental friendly) crust.

Everybody at my house likes it like this but my son leaves the crust on his plate.

I like it, as well, with tomatoes layered and baked in. The rest of my family doesn't. But they put nasty ketchup all over it. Horrors! Shocked

I bet there's a variation on mac & cheese for every home in North America. I hope we hear from the Aussies and Europeans how they like it too! Very Happy
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Judy



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

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with David - can't stand the thought of dry, crunchy macaroni, that's not comforting at all!

My own version of Mac Cheese is pretty basic - cooked macaroni, bechamel and lots of grated cheese on top.

Other comfort foods: hot chocolate self-saucing pudding, risotto, thick Greek yoghurt with honey and chopped nuts and, in summer, Vietnamese cold rolls.
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swan



Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 450
Location: a Dutchie in HongKong

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh dear, comfort food...chocolate mousse, mashed potatoes, very good apple pie with whipped cream, a slice of fresh brown bread with butter and aged Goude cheese, lasagne, the oldfasioned dutch 'draadjesvlees'...do I need to go on?!?!?
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melinda



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 256
Location: Richmond, VA, usa

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:46 pm    Post subject: comforting Reply with quote

red beans & rice, crayfish etouffee, crabmeat in any form, and top of the list shrimp...and on the sweet side, of course chocolate....my fav is french silk cake, or just good chocolate sauce for anything, and I happen to like pecan pie too...I'm gaining weight just typing this
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monkey



Joined: 08 Oct 2004
Posts: 87
Location: in the kitchen with a large bar of chocolate

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swan, dutch 'draadjesvlees'? please enlighten me!
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swan



Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 450
Location: a Dutchie in HongKong

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ah, Monkey, 'draadjesvlees'....it's a kind of meatstew, the kind grandma makes and just the smell of it makes you happy. Since I never had a grandma I am pretty proud I tought myself how to make it.

You use the kind of beef you would use for goulash or boeuf bourgignon, the kind that needs to stew for a long time. But don't cut into cubes, just leave them large steak size. First you brown them in butter or a special baking margarine. Take them out of the pan, they'll need some pepper and salt. To the pan you add a chopped onion if you like, a bayleave or two, a hint of acid (vinegar, tomato ketchup, just a teaspoon or so) and just enough water or stock to just not cover the meat when you put it back in.
Then leave it either in the oven (130/150 degrees) in a covered pan or on the stove on a low fire, slowely simmering for at least two hours, (or more, or even better: make it for the next day, or an extra batch!), untill the meat gets very tender. The somewhat 'stringy' texture of the meat is what we call 'draadjes'in Dutch.

The juices make a perfect gravy, 'jus' for the 'stamppot' we usually serve it with (a mix of mashed potatoes and boiled vegetables, for instance onions and carrots, or cabbage.)
And ofcourse you can put lots of things to your liking in the pan when stewing away. I like chopped tomatoes. Or an extra stockcube. Or lots of onions.

And this ofcourse, is where the 'le creuset'-type pan comes in handy.
Ah, the joy of slowfood!
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Rainey



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

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swan wrote:
ah, Monkey, 'draadjesvlees'....it's a kind of meatstew, the kind grandma makes and just the smell of it makes you happy. Since I never had a grandma I am pretty proud I tought myself how to make it.
...
Ah, the joy of slowfood!


Ooooo! It sounds great and I think I know what I'll make for dinner tomorrow night!

I'm so impressed that you're a bit of a food archeologist -- recreating things you never had direct experience of! I admire that.

It sort of reminds me of a radio story I once heard of a young Asian American chef. She had learned classic cuisine done the "right" way from a wealth of preserved information about mostly European cooking. What she had never learned to do was the traditional home cooking that the older women in her family did. They didn't have any systematic, written recipes. Only tradition that had been shared generation-to-generation within nuclear families going back for decades and some great tasting and culture-laden food. ...only once transported to the US, they had either stopped doing the sharing or failed to find the receptive accolytes. Now she was determined to nail these things before it was too late.

What she encountered was a whole culture of great pride and propriety masked in an ocean of modesty and reticense. She had to court each of the older women and be quite diplomatic and sometimes a bit surrupticious about how she worked with them and recorded their recipes. Listening to her methods was really very interesting.

She said she couldn't stop them or slow them down for taking notes. When she wrangled an invitation to dine/cook she had to travel with a whole battery de cuisine that included interesting things like a tape measure, a portable balance scale and a tape recorder along with the ordinary things like standard measures. Because these women used a handful or a tea or saki cup as their standards, she'd have to catch things en route to the bowl/wok and translate them to some standard measure. And all the while, she'd have her recorder running to catch the dialogue as she tried to gently encourage them to talk about what they knew, what were their methods and memories and how things had evolved.

I've gone on and on, but sometimes it's as interesting to know why we do things the way we do and what they mean to us as it is to taste them. I guess that's why this -- maybe -- has something to do with comfort foods.

Anyway, thanks for sharing what sounds like a new food adventure. Wink
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David



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

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just knew this would be fun! You know I'm sure disposable casserole dishes are available here but the idea, and a good one it is, never entered my thick little skull!

Melinda, sure love the regional quality of your choices for comfort food. Can't wait for another trip south, have a 50% chance of going to a book forum in New Orleans in May. Mind you, your comfort food is sheer exotica for me.

Swan, three cheers indeed for slowly cooked foods, and your recipe sounds a lot like what my mother has always called "swiss" steak. Does anyone else relate to this?
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 2:26 am    Post subject: food 'n comfort Reply with quote

any recipe with the word "dumpling" in it!

and for moi, there's something magical about the freshest of white bread (the crust is best), a layer of hard butter, and ....dare I type this?....yep, I is a brave lassie ...sugar! The textures, the sound, the oh-I've-got-to-have-another-sliceyness of it all..It HAS to be the freshest of fresh bread..

will I be booted off for such an admission? Embarassed
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In no particular order: hot & sour soup, chocolate in any form, buttered noodles, soft-boiled eggs, carrot & turnip mash, wheatberry toast with peanut butter & honey, strong hot tea
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