When we asked our staff and writers to name their favorite comfort food, everyone responded with something different. That’s not surprising, given that food is so subjective and personal. Whether you seek out a bowl of pho to fight a cold, a slice of pizza to remedy a bad day, or a basket of dumplings to celebrate a good one, food has the power to transport us to a happy time and place—one rich and warm with a sense of family and home.
But even if our cravings are rooted in nostalgia, the magic of comfort food is that it still allows for fresh discovery. Even a dish you’re trying for the first time can become a comfort food, either because of who you’re eating it with or something familiar it calls to mind. Such eating experiences don’t simply recall home, they let us redefine it, no matter where our table is set.
In this edition of Dish, we tuck into the many guises of comfort food, whether you want to cook it for yourself, find it in restaurants, or prepare it for others. We dig deep into meat pies and dumplings, savory treats that take many forms but are a common thread of comfort in many global cultures.
Speaking of global, our Australian correspondent weighs in on finding solace in that most American-Southern of cuisines, biscuits and gravy. Two stories explore how comfort can be found in cooking (and check out our recipe for green curry mussels), not just in eating. We also report on the science behind comfort food, and we pick a baker’s dozen of our favorites in Triangle restaurants.
Of course, we don’t neglect the fact that, even for chefs and foodies, sometimes only Waffle House or a mall food court can sate that particular hunger for something familiar, whether you’re in your hometown or on the other side of the world.