Comfort Food: Then and Now


What makes you happy?

Everyone’s answer is different to that of course. It could be as simple as having lots of money or a sense of security or friends and family near by.

We can get specific like…clean bedsheets, drinks on the house, fitting into those jeans from a few years ago, fast Wi-Fi…


Everyone has a comfort food! (Except maybe those drinking Soylent, but oh well)

Your mind, body, and soul are set to “chillax” with the right dish. It can be something that brings back childhood memories or is a throwback to a person, place or time. Whatever it is, it brings good vibes and tastes amazing.

So you had a bad day and just as you’re about to take one down or sing a sad song to just turn it around (sorry, had to!), that cheesy pizza or burger with crazy toppings or soup like your momma made makes it all better.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the first known use of “comfort food” goes back to 1977. But the IDEA of it goes back further.

Time travel to the Mongol era and there you have Genghis’s grandson Kublai Khan loving an old-fashioned burger patty as he invades Moscow.

In nineteenth and twentieth-century publications, food is a top contender for what one would need to have comfort…maybe even making you a sinner but we push that thought aside and go for whichever plate of food makes us feel all warm, fuzzy, and full.

For ONE GIRL, MANY PLATE’s first “official” post, I am dedicating it to comfort foods from around the globe.

In the comments below, let me know what YOUR favorite comfort food is and why! 

Tahdig rice dish
Iranian families can have an all out battle over who gets the last piece of tahdig! (Seriously – I have bruises to show for it!)  Tahdig literally means “bottom-of-the-pot” and is the crispy, crunchy crust at the bottom of a pot you’ve cooked rice in. Depending on the polo (rice) dish you make, you get different tahdig – like sabzi polo, shirin polo, adas polo, etc. Pair with a khorest (stew) and you’re in Tahdig Heaven.

07603 pierogi zapiekane z kapusta i kminem
The name alone is pretty cute and comforting. Pierogis originated from Central and Eastern Europe and are dumplings that get boiled, then baked or fried in butter with onions. Fillings include potatoes, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit.

Ice Cream (and frozen treats like it)
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 01
BRAAAIN FREEEEZE! Oh how I’ll take the pain while enjoying the cool, fresh, sweetness of ice cream. Around the world there are delicious variations of the frozen treat and they are not necessarily made of ice or cream. From gelato to mochi to fro-yo, there’s something for everyone.

Bubur Ayam
Bubur ayam Bali
From Indonesia, Bubur Ayam is made of rice congee with shredded chicken meat served with crispy fried shallots, chopped scallions, Chinese crullers, salty or sweet soy sauce, and fried soybeans. Top it off with yellow chicken broth and kerupuk (Indonesian-style crackers) and you’ve got one of Indonesia’s favored breakfast foods (but it can be eaten whenever, honestly)!

Macaroni and Cheese
Flickr wordridden 3397802319--Macaroni and cheese
Aah, a classic side! The name states what the dish simply is – cooked macaroni and melted cheese or cheese sauce. Add in a protein like chicken or beef or change the flavor depending on the cheese you use – it’s all good. One of my favs is crumbling Dorito chips on top and making it a baked pasta dish!

Paella de marisco 01
This rice meal became the one we know today during the mid-19th century near Lake Albufera, a lagoon in Valencia on the east coast of Spain. The three most known versions are: Valencian (white rice, green vegetables, meat, beans, seasoning), seafood (pictured above: seafood, no beans or green vegetables), mixed paella (free-stylin’ with protein from land and see, vegetables, and sometimes beans). Saffron and olive oil are key ingredients to enhance the meal.

Bangers and Mash
Bangers and mash 1
The traditional pub grub dish from Britain consists of mashed potatoes and sausages and is served with onion gravy, fried onions, baked beans, and peas. It also happens to be a pretty hilarious song by Russell Brand.


  • What is your comfort food and why?
  • When and where was the first time you had it?
  • How does it feel when you finish off the last bite or sip? 


Sharareh Drury is an award-winning journalist in Chicago. She's a foodie and traveller, loves to tell stories, and is always hungry for adventure and a flavorful dish to go with it.

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