Monday, March 28, 2011

Comfort Food

What do we call comfort food and why? What do we call comfort food. For each person, comfort food is based on a few things.

1. Family
what did your family make while you were growing up?
what did they pass down over the generations?

2. Where you live
What foods are native to the area you grew up in?
What foods were cooked by your friends mothers and grandmothers?

3. Personal Likes
What foods do you personally like to eat and/or fix?
How did you come by that personal favorite?

Lets take Family first. Each of us grew up in a very different kind of household from anyone else, other than our own siblings, if we have any. What mom makes is almost always best. We always judge our own version of those family favorites against what we remember from growing up. We also judge it against what our grandmother made for us as well.

For me personally, I grew up in an Italian household, for the most part. We had good old fashioned Italian food when we got together as a family, or the cousins came over. It was always a feast and fun.

My memories of my birthday every year was having my mother make Lasagna for me, since it is still my favorite of all pasta dishes. Ravioli's a close second. Both of which I now make from scratch. That means I make my own pasta for them as well. Something my grandfather taught me how to make when my son was only 4. That was an awesome thing that we shared and my son helped me make them too. It was fun.

I've taken my knowledge of making pasta and increased it by experimenting with adding things to the pasta as well as making new and different fillings for the ravioli's and lasagna. Always a new adventure when I make pasta from scratch.

I make all my own sauces as well, from scratch. I prefer home grown tomatoes over store bought fresh. They taste much better in the sauces. I once had a great olive sauce and then I made a version of my own. That is the BEST sauce ever. Personally, that one is something I add to my spaghetti instead of a maranara, and I never add a meat sauce to my pasta dishes. Instead I will make meatballs and sausgaes on the side and then add them to some sauce in a different pot and place them on the table as a dish to go with the pasta. Basically a side dish.

Next, where you live is very important to this subject. If you live in the south or midwest, your going to be eating alot of fried food, potatoes, mac and cheese, biscuits and gravey. That would be concidered comfort food and traditional to several regions of the country here in the USA. However, if your in Great Britain your idea of comfort food will be very different.

Our friends mothers and grandmothers, whom we got to know when we were growing up, also cooked for us. Traditionally, they would make food that was varied and different from our own family members. I remember being a little girl and going to my mothers best friends parents house. They made the best mexican food. Hence they were mexican, and my mother can cook it like no tomorrow. When I was older, another of my mothers friends was Japanese, she made tempura, something that I thought was the bomb.

Next is Personal. This is what comes from all of our experiences and travels or just a journey to a new restuarant and trying something else. These come from being adventurous. I had one of my sisters turn me onto Indian food. Oh wow, that was so wonderful. Being able to find what you like is a wonderful thing.

I recommend to everyone to explore the food around you. There are some awesome cuisines available to you that would not have been around 100 years ago. Unless you knew someone who was from a particular place in the world or region of the country.

I am so greatful for the travels I've experienced in my life. They have afforded me a wide variety of food exposure. I can honestly say that In almost every cuisine I've tried, I have found at least one thing that I consider comfort food. And I am still searching for more. When I find them, then I learn to make them, and how to change it slightly so its mine. Making something new is always wonderful, and fun. Its a challenge well worth the time and effort.

So please, adventure with an open mind and an empty stomach. Enjoy the Passion of the food around you.

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