By Jamie Rieger
We all have those comfort foods we get hungry for on occasion, whether it is a big pot of stew or a roast beef dinner. There is just something about certain dishes that gives us a warm, sentimental, calming feeling, especially in the cold winter months.
I have a few of these that I make once in a while when the snow is blowing outside. This weekend, while the snow was not blowing and the temperatures outside were far from cold, I had a real craving for Shepherd’s Pie; one of my go-to meals.
Comfort food is defined as a food that provides nostalgic or sentimental feeling, is characterized by high-carbohydrate levels, and is easy to make; which may explain one of my other go-to meals…a heaping plate of spaghetti.
When I was looking for background material for this article, I read that for comfort foods, males prefer hearty meals and women prefer snack-related foods. I definitely don’t consider any of my favourite snacks comfort foods, so I must be outside the norm on that one.
This same article also indicated that eating comfort food for men is triggered by positive emotions and negative emotions for women. I am not sure I agree with that either. While sometimes it may be true, it is not always the case. Sometimes, especially if I am in relax mode, comfort food is what I want to be cooking…and eating. It just seems to complete the already good day.
What I found really interesting when I was reading was the lists of comfort foods by country. I found it funny that poutine and Tim Horton’s doughnuts were on virtually every list for Canada. A little stereotypical and I wonder how many people were surveyed for them to come up with this. Mac and cheese was also on this list. Of course, I immediately questioned the validity of the list and thought it must have been compiled by an American with little thought or effort put into it. Where was the beef stew, chicken and dumplings, baked beans, or other foods favoured by Canadians?
Some of the other countries had interesting lists, however. Number One on the list for Britain was indeed Shepherd’s Pie ( made with lamb) or Cottage Pie (made with ground beef). It also included fish and chips, mushy peas, and fruit crumble.
Number One on the France list is onion soup. Seriously!
It was kind of neat to read how comfort foods vary from geographic region and some lists sure looked a lot more savory than others.
Me, I’ve always been a meat and potatoes kind of a girl and the Shepherd’s Pie I made over the weekend definitely did the job it was meant to do.