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Comfort food

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Title: Comfort food  
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Subject: Cuisine of the Midwestern United States, Food, Comfort, Self-medication, Dumpling
Collection: Anxiety, Emotion, Food and Drink Terminology, Mental Health, Obesity, Stress
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Comfort food

Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food that is found across various cultures.

Comfort food is traditional food which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the consumer,[1] and is often characterized by a high carbohydrate level and simple preparation.[2] The nostalgic element most comfort food has may be specific to either the individual or a specific culture.[3]


  • Definition 1
  • Psychological studies 2
  • By country 3
    • Australia and New Zealand 3.1
    • Britain 3.2
    • France 3.3
    • India 3.4
    • Indonesia 3.5
    • Italy 3.6
    • Pakistan 3.7
    • Philippines 3.8
    • Poland 3.9
    • Puerto Rico 3.10
    • Russia and Ukraine 3.11
    • Taiwan 3.12
    • Turkey 3.13
    • United States 3.14
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The term comfort food has been traced back at least to 1966, when the Palm Beach Post used it in a story: "Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’—food associated with the security of childhood, like mother’s poached egg or famous chicken soup."[4]

Psychological studies

Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological effects or to increase positive feelings.[5]

One study divided college-students' comfort-food identifications into four categories (nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods) with a special emphasis on the deliberate selection of particular foods to modify mood or effect, and indications that the medical-therapeutic use of particular foods may ultimately be a matter of mood-alteration.[6]

The identification of particular items as comfort food may be idiosyncratic, though patterns are detectable. In one study of American preferences, "males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles, and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). In addition, younger people preferred more snack-related comfort foods compared to those over 55 years of age." The study also revealed strong connections between consumption of comfort foods and feelings of guilt.[7]

Comfort food consumption has been seen as a response to emotional stress and, consequently, as a key contributor to the epidemic of obesity in the United States.[8] The provocation of specific hormonal responses leading selectively to increases in abdominal fat is seen as a form of self-medication.[9]

Further studies suggest that consumption of comfort food is triggered in men by positive emotions, and by negative ones in women.[10] The stress effect is particularly pronounced among college-aged women, with only 33% reporting healthy eating choices during times of emotional stress.[11] For women specifically, these psychological patterns may be maladaptive.[12]

A therapeutic use of these findings includes offering comfort foods or "happy hour" beverages to anorectic geriatric patients whose health and quality of life otherwise decreases with reduced oral intake.[13]

By country

A partial list by country of comfort foods around the world.

Australia and New Zealand

Australian comfort foods may include:[14][15]


Bangers and mash is a British comfort food.[17]

British comfort foods include the following foods:[18][19][20][21]


A madeleine

A madeleine de Proust is a French expression specifically referring to Marcel Proust's description of comfort food in In Search of Lost Time.



Bubur ayam (chicken congee) is an Indonesian comfort food.

Some popular Indonesian foods are considered to be comfort food, usually served hot or warm, and soupy or with a soft texture. In Indonesia, the warm and soft texture of bubur ayam is believed to help people to recover during convalescence.[23] Some Indonesian comfort foods are traditional Indonesian food and some are derived from Chinese influences. For some Indonesians, especially those who are abroad, comfort food might also be a certain brand or type of Indonesian instant noodle, such as Indomie Mi goreng.[24] Indonesian comfort foods include:





Some Polish comfort food include:

  • Barszcz z uszkami (clear beetroot soup with forest mushrooms tortellini)
  • Boczek (smoked pork belly)
  • Bigos (hunters stew)
  • Budyń waniliowy z malinami (vanilla pudding with raspberries)
  • Kotlet schabowy (pork schnitzel)
  • Flaki (tripe)
  • Golonka
  • Gulasz (goulash)
  • Zupa grzybowa (mushroom soup)
  • Jagody ze śmietaną (blueberries with cream)
  • Kapuśniak (sauerkraut soup)
  • Kopytka (Polish gnocchi)
  • Łazanki
  • Makaron ze śmietaną i truskawkami (pasta with cream and strawberries)
  • Mielone z ziemniakami i mizerią (pork burgers with mashed potato and fresh cucumbers sour cream salad)
  • Naleśniki z twarogiem (pancakes with milk curd)
  • Zupa ogórkowa (cucumber soup)
  • Pierogi [33][34][35]
  • Placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes)
  • Rosół (chicken soup with fine noodles)
  • Sernik (baked cheesecake)
  • Śledź w oleju (pickled herring)
  • Zupa pomidorowa (clear tomato soup with rice or noodles)
  • Zupa szczawiowa (sorrel soup served with boiled egg)
  • Żurek (sour rye soup)

Puerto Rico

Some Puerto Rican comfort foods include:[36][37][38][39]

  • Arroz blanco con habichuelas guisadas con calabaza, bistec encebollado y papas fritas – White rice with stewed beans with pumpkin, onions steak and fries
  • Arroz con gandules – Rice with pigeon peas
  • Carne frita con tostones – Fried pork with fried plantains
  • Carne mechada –Puerto Rican style meatloaf
  • CuchifritosFritanga: Assortment of fried appetizers: Alcapurrias, bacalaitos, piononos, sorrullos
  • Lechón asado – roast pork
  • Mixta – White rice, stewed beans with pumpkin and stewed meat with potatoes and carrots
  • Mofongo –Fried mashed green plantains
  • Mofongo relleno de mariscos, carne o pollo – Fried mashed green plantains stuffed with seafood, meat or chicken
  • Pasteles – Puerto Rican tamales
  • Pastelón de plátano maduro – Ripe banana casserole with ground beef and cheddar cheese
  • Pinchos – Puerto Rican skewers
  • Sancocho – Popular stew broth, very succulent made from different ingredients; it may contain, among others, beef, pork, tubers, vegetables and herbs.
  • Sopón – rice soup with chicken or shrimp
  • Tripleta – Criollo bread sandwich, ham, steak and chicken, mayonnaise, ketchup and tomato salad and cabbage

Russia and Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian comfort foods may include but are not limited to:




In Turkish, comfort food is closest in meaning to the term Turkish: Anne yemeği, "mother's dish", especially in terms of providing a nostalgic feeling, or Turkish: Ev yemeği, "home dish". Some of Turkish comfort foods are:

United States

Macaroni and cheese is an American comfort food.[46]

American comfort foods may include the following foods:

See also


  1. ^ "Comfort Food." (definition). Accessed July 2011.
  2. ^ "Comfort food". The Free Dictionary By Farlex. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Rufus, Anneli (June 23, 2011). "How comfort foods work like Prozac". Gilt Taste. Retrieved 8 April 2015.  (archived at WebCite)
  4. ^ Romm, Cari (3 April 2015). "Why Comfort Food Comforts". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 July 2015.  'The phrase "comfort food" has been around at least as early as 1966, when the Palm Beach Post used it in a story on obesity: "Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’—food associated with the security of childhood, like mother’s poached egg or famous chicken soup"'
  5. ^ Wansink, Brian; Sangerman, Cynthia (July 2000). "Engineering comfort foods". American Demographics: 66–7. 
  6. ^ Locher, Julie L.; Yoels, William C.; Maurer, Donna; Van Ells, Jillian (2005). "Comfort Foods: An Exploratory Journey into the Social and Emotional Significance of Food". Food and Foodways 13 (4): 273–97.  
  7. ^ Wansink, B; Cheney, M; Chan, N (2003). "Exploring comfort food preferences across age and gender". Physiology & Behavior 79 (4–5): 739–47.  
  8. ^ Dallman, Mary F.; Pecoraro, Norman; Akana, Susan F.; La Fleur, Susanne E.; Gomez, Francisca; Houshyar, Hani; Bell, M. E.; Bhatnagar, Seema; Laugero, Kevin D.; Manalo, Sotara (2003). "'"Chronic stress and obesity: A new view of 'comfort food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100 (20): 11696–701.  
  9. ^ Dallman, Mary F.; Pecoraro, Norman C.; La Fleur, Susanne E. (2005). "Chronic stress and comfort foods: Self-medication and abdominal obesity". Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 19 (4): 275–80.  
  10. ^ Dube, L; Lebel, J; Lu, J (2005). "Affect asymmetry and comfort food consumption". Physiology & Behavior 86 (4): 559–67.  
  11. ^ Kandiah, Jayanthi; Yake, Melissa; Jones, James; Meyer, Michaela (2006). "Stress influences appetite and comfort food preferences in college women". Nutrition Research 26 (3): 118–23.  
  12. ^ Lebel, J; Lu, J; Dube, L (2008). "Weakened biological signals: Highly-developed eating schemas amongst women are associated with maladaptive patterns of comfort food consumption". Physiology & Behavior 94 (3): 384–92.  
  13. ^ Wood, Paulette; Vogen, Barbra D (1998). "Feeding the anorectic client: Comfort foods and happy hour". Geriatric Nursing 19 (4): 192–4.  
  14. ^ "Australian Comfort Food Recipes". 
  15. ^ "Ultimate Comfort Food". ninemsn Food. ninemsn. 
  16. ^ a b Romero, Jo (27 September 2012). "Comfort foods from around the world". Yahoo! Lifestyle UK. Yahoo!. 
  17. ^ "Bangers and mash most popular comfort food as Britons eat more during credit crunch". London: Telegraph. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  18. ^ "All-time classic British comfort food recipes". Delicious Magazine. 
  19. ^ "Comfort food recipes". BBC Good Food. BBC. 
  20. ^ "British comfort food to make your mouth water". The Daily Telegraph (London). 22 March 2013. 
  21. ^ Kerridge, Tom; April Bloomfield, Simon Hopkinson, Tim Hughes, Sam and Sam Clark (24 February 2014). "20 best comfort food recipes: part 1". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  22. ^ Carrier, Rhonda (2009). Frommer's London with Kids. John Wiley & Sons. p. 101.  
  23. ^ a b c d e Fitria Rahmadianti (26 September 2012). "Comfort Food, Makanan Yang Bikin Nyaman dan Kangen" (in Indonesian). Detik Food. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Indomie - Mi Goreng
  25. ^ "My Comfort Food – Mie Jamur Pangsit Bakso". Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  26. ^ Comfort Food Helps Indonesian Maid Recover
  27. ^ a b c "Barack Obama's Indonesia charm offensive". BBC News. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  28. ^ VL. "Nasi Tim Warisan" (in Indonesian). Femina. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  29. ^ "Indonesian Steamed Rice with Chicken/Nasi Tim Ayam". What to Cook Today?. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "Indonesia - Soto Ayam at Malioboro Country". Chowhound. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  31. ^ Sandoval, Eva (14 August 2012). "The world's greatest comfort foods". CNN. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  32. ^ Nuzhat (2009). Nuzhat Classic Recipes. AuthorHouse. pp. 1, 2.  
  33. ^ Ardis, Susan (7 November 2012). "Pierogies: Comfort food, Polish style". The State. 
  34. ^ Scatts (17 January 2011). "What Is Polish "Comfort Food"?". Polandian. Wordpress. 
  35. ^ Izlar, Camille (14 February 2013). "Polish Comfort Food: Best Way to Stay Warm". Steve Dolinsky. 
  36. ^ Olmsted, Larry (18 October 2012). "Great American Bites: Classic Puerto Rican comfort food at El Jibarito". USA Today. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  37. ^ Speakerman, Meghan Ruth (17 Sep 2012). "Puerto Rican Inspiration". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  38. ^ Russell, Michael (12 March 2015). "Boriken brings Puerto Rican comfort food to Beaverton (and beyond)". The Oregonian. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  39. ^ Edwards, Melanie (29 May 2012). "5 Traditional Puerto Rican Foods I Wish My Daughter Ate". Fox News Latino. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  40. ^ "10 Classic Taiwanese Dishes".  
  41. ^ a b "45 Taiwanese foods we can't live without".  
  42. ^ a b "Tasty snacks go well with TaiwanFest fun".  
  43. ^ a b "Taiwan’s Top Winter Comfort Foods".  
  44. ^ "The ultimate comfort food: manti, or turkish dumplings".  
  45. ^ "Manti: A Food Without Borders".  
  46. ^ a b c Joseph, Dana (10 May 2012). "American food: the 50 greatest dishes".  
  47. ^ Bretherton, C. (2013). Pies: Sweet and Savory. DK Publishing. p. 218.  
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Stoley, Emma (20 Jan 2012). "America's Best Comfort Foods". Travel+Leisure (Time Inc.). Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  49. ^ Slotnik, Daniel E. (26 May 2012). "What's Your Comfort Food?". The New York Times. 
  50. ^ a b c d e f Brown, Alton. "America's Best: Top 10 Comfort Foods". Food Network. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  51. ^ Fiduccia, K.; Rowinski, K. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to Making Chili: Easy and Delicious Recipes to Spice Up Your Diet. Skyhorse Pub. p. 118.  
  52. ^ Joseph, Scott (3 September 1993). "Pot Roast, Comfort Food Great, Goes With Comfortable Wine". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 21 July 2015.  (WebCite archive)
  53. ^ "Comfort and Company". Food Network. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  54. ^ "Chefs' Comfort Food Cook-Off". Southern Living. Time Inc. Lifestyle Group. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 

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