Comfort food
Comfort food is food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 prepared traditionally that may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal. Comfort foods may be foods that have a nostalgic element either to an individual or a specific culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

. Many comfort foods are flavorful and easily eaten, having soft consistencies.

One recent development, as chefs have explored the roots of American cuisine
Cuisine of the United States
American cuisine is a style of food preparation originating from the United States of America. European colonization of the Americas yielded the introduction of a number of ingredients and cooking styles to the latter...

 and tried to define it as a unique style, is the advent of fine dining comfort food restaurants that feature more careful cooking and presentation, higher quality and fresh organic
Organic food
Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.For the...

 ingredients, along with consequently higher prices.

American comfort foods

In a reader's opinion poll
Opinion poll
An opinion poll, sometimes simply referred to as a poll is a survey of public opinion from a particular sample. Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio or within confidence...

 by, the following are the top 25 foods stated as comfort foods by respondents:

  • Apple pie
    Apple pie
    An apple pie is a fruit pie in which the principal filling ingredient is apples. It is sometimes served with whipped cream or ice cream on top...

  • Baked beans
    Baked beans
    Baked beans is a dish containing beans, sometimes baked but, despite the name, usually stewed, in a sauce. Most commercial canned baked beans are made from haricot beans, also known as navy beans – a variety of Phaseolus vulgaris – in a sauce. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, a tomato...

  • Banana pudding
    Banana pudding
    Banana pudding is a dessert generally consisting of repeated layers of sweet vanilla custard, cookies and sliced fresh bananas placed in a dish and served, topped with whipped cream or meringue. The wafers absorb the custard.It is commonly associated with Southern U.S. cuisine, however, it can be...

  • Beef stew
  • Brisket pot roast
    Pot roast (beef)
    Pot roast is a braised beef dish. Pot roast is typically made by browning a roast-sized piece of beef to induce a Maillard reaction, then slow-cooking in or over liquid in a covered dish....

  • Chicken and dumplings
    Chicken and dumplings
    Chicken and dumplings is a popular comfort food dish, commonly found in the Southern and Midwestern United States, that is also attributed to being a French Canadian meal that originated during the Great Depression...

  • Chicken pot pie
  • Chicken soup
    Chicken soup
    Chicken soup is a soup made by bringing to a boil and then simmering chicken parts and/or bones in water, with various vegetables and flavorings. The classic chicken soup consists of a clear broth, often served with small pieces of chicken or vegetables, or with noodles or dumplings, or grains such...

  • Chili
    Chili con carne
    Chili con carne is a spicy stew. The name of the dish derives from the Spanish chile con carne, "chili pepper with meat". Traditional versions are made, minimally, from chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin, along with chopped or ground beef. Beans and tomatoes are frequently included...

  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Corn on the cob
    Corn on the cob
    Corn on the cob is a culinary term used for a cooked ear of freshly picked maize from a cultivar of sweet corn. The ear is picked while the endosperm is in the "milk stage" so that the kernels are still tender...

  • Fried Chicken
    Fried chicken
    Fried chicken is a dish consisting of chicken pieces usually from broiler chickens which have been floured or battered and then pan fried, deep fried, or pressure fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior...

  • Gelatin dessert
    Gelatin dessert
    Gelatin desserts are desserts made with sweetened and flavored gelatin. They can be made by combining plain gelatin with other ingredients or by using a premixed blend of gelatin with additives...

  • Green bean casserole
    Green bean casserole
    Green bean casserole is a casserole consisting of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and french fried onions. The recipe may also call for ground black pepper and soy sauce. It is a popular Thanksgiving side dish in the United States.-History of recipe:...

  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cream
    Ice cream
    Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners...

  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Meatloaf
    Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat formed into a loaf shape and baked or smoked. The loaf shape is formed by either cooking it in a loaf pan, or forming it by hand on a flat baking pan...

  • Pizza
    Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

  • Potato salad
    Potato salad
    Potato salad is a dish made from boiled potatoes, the versions of which vary throughout different regions and countries of the world. Although called a salad, it is generally considered a side dish, as it generally accompanies the main course....

  • Pumpkin pie
    Pumpkin pie
    Pumpkin pie is a traditional sweet dessert, often eaten during the fall and early winter, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the United States and Canada. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time and featured also at Halloween....

  • Shepherd's pie
    Shepherd's pie
    Cottage pie or shepherd's pie is a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato.The term cottage pie is known to have been in use in 1791, when the potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor Cottage pie or shepherd's pie is a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato.The term...

  • Spaghetti
    Spaghetti is a long, thin, cylindrical pasta of Italian origin. Spaghetti is made of semolina or flour and water. Italian dried spaghetti is made from durum wheat semolina, but outside of Italy it may be made with other kinds of flour...

  • Tomato soup
    Tomato soup
    Tomato soup is a soup made from tomatoes. It may be served hot or cold, and can be made in many styles. It may be smooth in texture, but there are recipes which include chunks of tomato, cream and/or chicken stock. Popular toppings for tomato soup include sour cream, and croutons. Tomato soup is...

  • Tuna Casserole
    Tuna casserole
    Tuna casserole is a casserole mainly composed of egg noodles and canned tuna fish, with canned peas and corn sometimes added. The casserole is often topped with potato chips, corn flakes or canned fried onions. It is a common dish in some parts of the United States of America...

Australian comfort foods

While some of these comfort foods have different names regionally, they tend to be available in all states. This list also demonstrates the ethnic influences on Australian cuisine
Australian cuisine
Australian cuisine refers to the cuisine of the Commonwealth of Australia and its preceding indigenous and colonial societies. Indigenous Australians have occupied the lands of Australia for some 40,000-60,000 years, during which time they developed a unique hunter gatherer diet, known as "bush...

  • vegemite
    Vegemite is a dark brown Australian food paste made from yeast extract. It is a spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits, and filling for pastries...

  • meat pies, sausage rolls & pasty
    A pasty , sometimes known as a pastie or British pasty in the United States, is a filled pastry case, associated in particular with Cornwall in Great Britain. It is made by placing the uncooked filling on a flat pastry circle, and folding it to wrap the filling, crimping the edge at the side or top...

  • fish and chips
    Fish and chips
    Fish and chips is a popular take-away food in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada...

    , chiko rolls, dim sim
    Dim sim
    A dim sim is a Chinese-inspired meat dumpling-style snack food popular in Australia. The dish normally consists of a large ball of pork or other meat, cabbage and flavourings, encased in a wrapper similar to that of a traditional shumai dumpling. They are usually deep-fried or steamed, but can be...

    s, potato cake
    Potato cake
    Potato Cake may refer to different preparations of potatoes.In the U.S., the term commonly refers to a patty of hashed potatoes, a kind of hash brown. These are available pre-made and frozen in supermarkets and are served by many restaurants...

  • gyros or souvlakis
  • chocolate crackles
    Chocolate crackles
    Chocolate crackles are a popular children's confection in Australia and New Zealand, especially for birthday parties and at school fêtes. They are similar to the US Rice Krispies Treats...

  • roast lamb
  • Tim Tams
  • cappuccinos
  • pizza
    Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

  • curry
    Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

Chinese comfort foods

In Chinese culture the comfort foods might differ between each households. Nevertheless the common theme is usually invoked nostalgic sentiments of home and family. Chinese comfort foods usually served warm, have soft texture and it might be soupy. Some of common Chinese comfort foods are:
  • Baozi
    A bāozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bausak, pow or pau is a type of steamed, filled bun or bread-like item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations...

  • Rice congee
    Congee is a type of rice porridge popular in many Asian countries. It can be eaten alone or served with a side dish. Names for congee are as varied as the style of its preparation...

  • Chinese noodles
    Chinese noodles
    Noodles are an essential ingredient and staple in Chinese cuisine. There is a great variety of Chinese noodles, which vary according to their region of production, ingredients, shape or width, and manner of preparation...

  • Dim sum
    Dim sum
    Dim sum refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates...

Filipino comfort foods

In Filipino cultures, comforts are those that are common in Filipino society. Comfort foods, especially home-cooked meals, usually invoke a sense of feeling of being in the comforts of home. It makes feels of the life in the hometown (for Filipino immigrants). Some common Filipino comfort foods include:
  • Adobo
    Adobo (Filipino cuisine)
    Adobo is the name of a popular dish and cooking process in Philippine cuisine that involves meat or seafood marinated in a sauce of vinegar and garlic, browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade....

  • Tapa (Filipino cuisine)
    Tapa (Filipino cuisine)
    Tapa is dried or cured beef, mutton or venison, although other meat or even fish may be used. Filipinos prepare thin slices of meat and cure it with salt and spices as a method of preserving it...

  • Kare-kare
    Kare-kare is a Philippine stew. It is made from peanut sauce with a variety of vegetables, stewed oxtail, beef, and occasionally offal or tripe. Meat variants may include goat meat or chicken. It is often eaten with bagoong , sometimes spiced with chili, and sprinkled with calamansi juice...

  • Pancit
    Pancit or pansit is the term for noodles in Filipino cuisine. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese and have since been adopted into local cuisine. The term pancit is derived from the Hokkien pian i sit which means "something conveniently cooked fast." Different kinds of...

  • Champorado
    For the Mexican drink, see ChampurradoTsampurado is a sweet chocolate rice porridge in Philippine cuisine. It is traditionally made by boiling sticky rice with cocoa powder, giving it a distinctly brown color and usually with milk and sugar to make it taste sweeter. However, dry tsampurado mixes...

  • Binignit
    Binignit is a vegetable stew from the Visayas region in the Philippines. The dish is traditionally made by Cebuanos with slices of saba, taro, sweet potato. The people in the neighboring island Leyte, usually include landang , langka , anise and thickened with milled glutinous rice in cooking...

  • Puto
    Puto is Philippine steamed rice cake, eaten as is or with butter and/or grated fresh coconut or as accompaniment to a number of savory dishes for breakfast .-Preparation:...

  • Bibingka
    Bibingka is a type of rice cake from the Philippines. It is traditionally eaten during Christmas season.-Preparation:Bibingka is made with rice flour and coconut milk or water. Other ingredients can vary greatly, but the most common secondary ingredients are eggs and milk. The traditional...

Indonesian comfort foods

Some of popular Indonesian food are considered as comfort food, usually served hot or warm, soupy and have soft texture. Some Indonesian comfort food are traditional Indonesian food and some are derived from Chinese influences. For some Indonesians, especially those whom are abroad, comfort food might also be a certain brand or type of Indonesian instant noodle, such as Indomie Mi goreng
IndoMie Mi Goreng
Indomie Mi goreng is an instant noodles product line made under the Indomie brand by the Indofood company, the world's largest instant noodle manufacturer, located in Indonesia. The product entered the market in 1982 and is available in many parts of the world including the US, Australia, New...

. Indonesian comfort foods include:
  • Bakmi
    Bakmi consists of two Hokkien Chinese words literally translated to English as "meat noodles" . Bakmi is a wheat based noodle which was brought to Southeast Asia by Chinese merchants, and is today a common noodle dish, especially in Indonesia and in Thailand. The dish has also been further...

     or Mie Ayam
  • Bakso
    Bakso or baso is Indonesian meatball or meat paste made from beef surimi and is similar in texture to the Chinese beef ball, fish ball, or pork ball. Bakso is commonly made from beef with a small quantity of tapioca flour, however bakso can also be made from other ingredients, such as chicken,...

  • Bubur ayam (chicken congee
    Congee is a type of rice porridge popular in many Asian countries. It can be eaten alone or served with a side dish. Names for congee are as varied as the style of its preparation...

  • Indomie Mi goreng
    IndoMie Mi Goreng
    Indomie Mi goreng is an instant noodles product line made under the Indomie brand by the Indofood company, the world's largest instant noodle manufacturer, located in Indonesia. The product entered the market in 1982 and is available in many parts of the world including the US, Australia, New...

  • Mie goreng
  • Mie rebus
  • Nasi goreng
    Nasi goreng
    Nasi goreng, literally meaning "fried rice" in Indonesian, can refer simply to fried pre-cooked rice, a meal including stir fried rice in small amount of cooking oil or margarine, typically spiced with kecap manis , shallot, garlic, tamarind and chilli and accompanied with other ingredients,...

  • Nasi tim
    Nasi tim
    Nasi tim is a Chinese Indonesian steamed chicken rice. In Indonesian language nasi literally means rice and tim means steam. The ingredients are chicken and mushroom and hard boiled egg were seasoned in soy sauce and garlic, and later those ingredients were put in the bottom of the tin bowl. The...

  • Sayur sop (vegetables and chicken soup)
  • Soto ayam
    Soto ayam
    Soto ayam is a yellow spicy chicken soup with lontong or nasi empit or ketupat and/or vermicelli or noodles, commonly found in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Suriname. Turmeric is added as one of its ingredients to get yellow chicken broth...

     (chicken soto)
  • Tempeh
    Tempeh , or tempe , is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty...

     and Tahu goreng

Japanese comfort foods

  • Agedashi tofu
    Agedashi tofu
    Agedashi tofu is a Japanese way to serve hot tofu. Silken firm tofu, cut into cubes, is lightly dusted with potato starch or cornstarch and then deep fried until golden brown...

  • Kare raisu
    Japanese curry
    is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It is commonly served in three main forms: , karē udon and karē-pan . Curry rice is most commonly referred to simply as ....

  • Miso soup
    Miso soup
    is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a stock called "dashi" into which is mixed softened miso paste. Many ingredients are added depending on regional and seasonal recipes, and personal preference.-Miso paste:...

  • Okayu
  • Okonomiyaki
    is a Japanese dish containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked" . Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the...

  • Omurice
    Omurice, sometimes spelled , is an example of contemporary Japanese fusion cuisine consisting of an omelette made with fried rice and usually topped with ketchup. Omu and raisu being contractions of the words omelette and rice, the name is a wasei-eigo...

  • Onigiri
    , also known as or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori . Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume , salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative...

  • Oyakodon
    , literally "parent-and-child donburi", is a donburi, or Japanese rice bowl dish, in which chicken, egg, sliced green onions , and other ingredients are all simmered together in a sauce and then served on top of a large bowl of rice...

  • Ramen
    is a Japanese noodle dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as , , kamaboko, green onions, and occasionally corn...

  • Takoyaki
    is a popular ball-shaped Japanese dumpling or more like a savory pancake made of batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan...

  • Udon
    is a type of thick wheat-flour noodle of Japanese cuisine.Udon is usually served hot as noodle soup in its simplest form as kake udon, in a mildly flavoured broth called kakejiru which is made of dashi, soy sauce , and mirin. It is usually topped with thinly chopped scallions...

Korean comfort foods

  • Kimchi
    Kimchi , also spelled gimchi, kimchee, or kim chee, is a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with varied seasonings. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with a main vegetable ingredient such as napa cabbage, radish, green onions or cucumber. It is the most common...

  • Tteokbokki
    Tteokbokki, also known as Ddeokbokki is a popular Korean snack food which is commonly purchased from street vendors or Pojangmacha. Originally it was called tteok jjim , and was a braised dish of sliced rice cake, meat, eggs, and seasoning. Tteok jjim an early variant of modern tteokbokki, was...

  • Jjajangmyun
  • Kimchi Jjigae
  • Soondae
  • Bibimbab
  • Bulgogi
    Bulgogi is a Korean dish that usually consists of marinated barbecued beef, although chicken or pork may also be used. It is listed at number 23 on World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll complied by CNN Go in 2011.-Etymology:...

Swedish comfort foods

  • Yellow pea soup
  • Pyttipanna
    Pyttipanna, also pytt i panna, pyttipanne , pyttipannu , is a hodgepodge of food similar to bubble and squeak. The term is Swedish/Norwegian for "small pieces in pan"...

  • Falukorv
    Falukorv is a large traditional Swedish sausage made of a grated mixture of pork and beef or veal with potato starch flour and mild spices.-History:...

  • Kroppkaka
  • Palt
    Palt is a traditional Swedish meat-filled dumpling, of which there are many different variants. Palt is traditionally served with butter and lingonberry preserves, and a glass of cold milk on the side....

  • Pölsa
    Pölsa is a traditional Swedish dish, very similar in taste and consistency to Scottish haggis. The main ingredients are liver, heart, onion, pot barley, and often beef mince or minced pork, mixed with stock, black pepper, and marjoram...

Psychological studies

Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological affects or to increase positive feelings. The term was first used, according to Webster's Dictionary
Webster's Dictionary
Webster's Dictionary refers to the line of dictionaries first developed by Noah Webster in the early 19th century, and also to numerous unrelated dictionaries that added Webster's name just to share his prestige. The term is a genericized trademark in the U.S.A...

, in 1977.

One study divided college-students' comfort-food identifications into four categories (nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience food
Convenience food
Convenience food, or tertiary processed food, is commercially prepared food designed for ease of consumption. Products designated as convenience foods are often prepared food stuffs that can be sold as hot, ready-to-eat dishes; as room-temperature, shelf-stable products; or as refrigerated or...

s, and physical comfort foods) with a special emphasis on the deliberate selection of particular foods to modify mood or affect, and indications that the medical-therapeutic use of particular foods may ultimately be a matter of mood-alteration.

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.

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. The provocation of specific hormonal responses leading selectively to increases in abdominal fat is seen as a form of self-medication
Self-medication is a term used to describe the use of drugs or other self-soothing forms of behavior to treat untreated and often undiagnosed mental distress, stress and anxiety, including mental illnesses and/or psychological trauma...


Further studies suggest that consumption of comfort food is triggered in men by positive emotions, and by negative ones in women. The stress effect is particularly pronounced among college-aged women, with only 33% reporting healthy eating
Healthy diet
A healthy diet is one that helps maintain or improve general health. It is important for lowering many chronic health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. A healthy diet involves consuming appropriate amounts of all essential nutrients and an adequate amount of...

 choices during times of emotional stress. For women specifically, these psychological patterns may be maladaptive.

A therapeutic use of these findings includes offering comfort foods or "happy hour" beverages to anorectic
Anorexia (symptom)
Anorexia is the decreased sensation of appetite...

 geriatric patients whose health and quality of life otherwise decreases with reduced oral intake.

See also

  • Food choice
    Food choice
    Research into food choice asks how people select the food they eat.The topic is the subject of research in nutrition, food science, psychology, anthropology and other branches of the natural and social sciences...

    , a subject of research in nutrition
    Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

    , food science
    Food science
    Food science is a study concerned with all technical aspects of foods, beginning with harvesting or slaughtering, and ending with its cooking and consumption, an ideology commonly referred to as "from field to fork"...

    , psychology
    Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

    , anthropology
    Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

    and other branches of the natural and social sciences.
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