Saturday, September 8, 2012

Comfort Food

What is comfort food?  Is it is something that is sentimental or nostalgic? Is it something that take us back to a time when we were young? Is is something that reminds us of someone? Or is it something that makes us feel good? It can be all of the above.

Is comfort food one kind of food or is it many kinds of food? I believe it depends on the person. I have several comfort foods and they all have different memories for me. Can I name one as my favorite? No I cannot, because they all hold something special and to name one as the favorite is impossible.

I do have some comfort foods that top my list though. Homemade macaroni and cheese and tuna casserole the way my grandmother made them.  My mother's fried chicken. Those are my top three. I have others, but these are my favorites. Why these three? I am not really sure other than the fact is that they are simple to make, are flavorful and downright tasty, and they all taste surprisingly well cold.

Tonight I made the simple yet flavorful tuna noodle casserole. I changed up the recipe than how my grandmother made it. Her recipe is so simple, a can of cream of mushroom soup, one cup of milk,a can of tuna, and a pound of egg noodles. That's it 4 simple ingredients before the must have salt and pepper. Nothing to it right? Nothing fancy, but for some reason I love it and so does my daughter. My husband doesn't understand our love of this meal and doesn't share it with it. That is fine since he's not home tonight to share in my new take of this classic.

What I did tonight is leave the can of cream of mushroom soup in the cupboard and make homemade cream of mushroom soup. Now this was easy. I sauteed shallots and chopped crimini mushrooms in butter and set aside. Then I made a bechamel sauce with butter, flour, and milk. I added salt, pepper, a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, a touch of cayenne, and a pinch of nutmeg to this. Tossed back in the mushroom mixture and let it blend together while the noodles boiled.

Once the noodles were done I drained them, added them to the sauce and combined all the ingredients together. I placed everything in a baking dish and topped with some panko bread crumbs and off into a 350° oven to bake for 30 minutes.  Let this sit a few minutes before you serve since this can be extremely hot and unless you have a mouth made out of asbestos you will burn yourself.

Even though I put my own spin on this dish tonight it was still very comforting. It reminds me of the time I spent with my grandmother making this when I was a kid. It is yet one of those recipes that don't need to be written down since the ingredients and preparation are so simple. My 12 year old daughter can make this and the macaroni and cheese on her own. She's even shown one of her grandmother's the we way this mac & cheese is made and loves that she can share this recipe I learned as a kid.

I think in the end comfort food reminds of us of home. It doesn't matter when we make it or if we put a spin on it. No matter how many years it has been for some reason it still tastes the same as when we had it all those years ago. Comfort food is something we share with those we love as it was shared with us and that makes it remind you of home.

Please share with me some of your favorite comfort foods in the comments. Thank you.

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