I brought my ill daughter back from uni yesterday evening. It’s a shame but being able to cosset your kids and give them food, shelter and warmth is something parents love to do. We were back in time for dinner and thoughts turned to what would be the perfect tonic for a rundown child.
Chicken soup is the classic pick-me-up. It is simple, peasant food that is easy and tastes wonderful. The image that passes through my head is of someone at a low point cupping a mug of steaming chicken soup, sniffing back the tears and raising a smile. Chicken features large on comfort food top tens. Just as chicken soup is a metaphor immortalised in the hugely successful but somewhat schmaltzy Chicken Soup For The Soul. The wonderful Simon Hopkinson called his book Roast Chicken and other Stories because he thought it “had a friendly ring to it”. I couldn’t put it better. Comfort food is friendly food.
Simple seems to be a theme. I have never heard anyone suggest that, in their darkest moments, they yearn for Beef Wellington with Dauphinoise Potatoes. Comfort food is for me the food that you not only seek out in your darkest hours but, afterwards, you always think you should eat it more often. Beans on toast, cornflakes, chocolate (particularly hot chocolate), a cup of tea, and hearty stew are all candidates. So too are the things you remember from your childhood – what mum used to make.
For my daughter we went for Mac and cheese which put a smile on her face…and ours.