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Why Are Some Foods Considered Comfort Food?

Why Are Some Foods Considered Comfort Food?


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The foods that we associate with our childhood and relationships provide us comfort

Holiday foods are often defined as comfort foods because they remind us of the special times.

Comfort food was added to the dictionary in 1977, as “food that comforts or affords solace; hence any food (freq. with high sugar or carbohydrate content) that is associated with childhood or home cooking.” Whether or not your comfort food is mashed potatoes, lasagna, or a big slice of chocolate cake, the term usually refers to a change in our mental state, by providing warmth and a sense of “fullness.”

Click here for the Comfort Food Alternatives slideshow.

In addition to that comfort and warmth, studies show that comfort food is linked to something social, as well, meaning that there is an emotional bond or attachment to the food. A study published in the journal Appetite found that the power of comfort food is based on the associations that it calls to mind. During times of stress or discomfort, people who have strong family relationships often reach for something that reminds them of those strong relationships. Often, those reminders come in edible form. This could explain why you want mashed potatoes or pizza in times of stress, which could help you recall memories of a family Thanksgiving or childhood pizza party. Another study found that chicken soup was considered a comfort food by people who had strong emotional relationships. The stronger the relationship, the more satisfying the soup was to the subjects.

Although comfort foods tend to be delicious and satisfying, the reasoning behind why certain foods make us feel at ease is because of the associations we make with them.

The accompanying slideshow is provided by special contributor Will Budiaman.


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)


The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order

After a hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was -- whatever test we failed, boss we clashed with, family member we disappointed -- there's something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends.

Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food. If it gives you comfort, it's good. But does that mean we don't have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. I asked around the office for the most food-oriented people I know to tell me their top three comfort foods, off the top of their head. You'll find most of them in the list below, plus a few of my personal favorites. How did yours rank? Did I forget about it altogether? Let us know in the comments!

(*Note: obviously, for me, bourbon would be on this list, but I decided that this would only rank food. Drinks will have their day some other time.)