When I was in college, I spent three months studying in Buenos Aires. The food was amazing — the fruits bursting with flavor, the freshly made pastas, the endless variety of alfajores.. I was in heaven. A classmate of mine, an adult student who had brought her husband and kids down with her (lucky them!), pointed something out that her kids were really, really missing from back home — peanut butter. All of a sudden, though peanut butter has never really been a big part of my diet, that was all I wanted. I was dreaming of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich, anything with the sweet, sweet flavor of peanuts. When I arrived back in the states, a PB & J was the first thing I ate.
And that’s what comfort food is all about — a sensory overload of nostalgia, something to remind you of where you’ve been in your life. But obviously, comfort foods are different for different people. What may be exotic to you is a reminder of mom’s cooking to someone else. So let’s take a journey through some of the favored comfort foods across the globe.
Tell us about your favorite comfort food in the comments!
See Also: 13 Surprising Uses for Mustard
1. Spštzle [Germany]
A popular egg noodle, spštzle can be served a number of different ways. They’re also an easy noodle to make without fancy equipment! I especially like the grated cheese and fried onion variety. See recipe for noodles below and get creative!
- 1 c. flour
- 1/4 c. milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
- Pinch of white pepper
2. †Press dough through a metal grater (kind of like you would with cheese). You can also use a large-holed sieve or colander.
Recipe inspired by Tyler Florence.
2. Pad Thai [Thailand]
One of the most famous dishes in Thailand, pad thai was popularized by the prime minister Luang Phibunsongkhram in the 1930s and 1940s partially in an effort to reduce the country’s reliance on imported rice. There are a ton of different variations on this classic dish, but we like this vegetarian take the best.
Also Check Out: Best Crepes Ever (Recipe)
3. P„o de Queijo [Brazil]
These chewy little cheese buns are a popular treat in Brazil. Made traditionally with cassava starch, p„o de queijo are a popular breakfast food, snack & street food.
Click here for a (gluten-free!) recipe.
4. Makaronia [Greece]
Who knew spaghetti with butter and cheese could be this tasty? As a Greek-American, my Yiayia’s makaronia is my ultimate comfort food.
Make a pot of a thicker spaghetti like bucatini (available in Italian/Greek speciality stores), strain and set in a serving dish. Carefully brown 2-3 tablespoons of butter — you’ll want to watch it closely, it can turn from the ideal golden brown to burnt black-brown very quickly! Pour golden-brown butter over the pasta, a nice helping of cheese, and stir. The best-known cheese for makaronia is myzthria, though my family uses kefalotyri, or, when we can’t find that,†romano. It’s easy, decadent, and absolutely delicious!
5. Alecha [Ethiopia]
This spicy vegetable stew is a popular comfort food in Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea. Check out the recipe here. According to the recipe author, it is made when Ethiopians cannot eat meat.
5. Kimchi [South Korea]
When thinking about Korean cuisine, one of the first things that comes to most people’s minds is kimchi, the fermented vegetable dish. Its history dates back thousands of years and varies wildly across North and South Korea. Check out a recipe for radish and root kimchi here.
See Also: 12 Surprising Uses for Peanut Butter
6. Dal & Rice [India]
Our blogger, Shubhra Krishan, a†native and current resident of New Delhi,†names dal & rice as one of her favorite comfort foods. She writes, “Every evening, countless homemakers in India pour out a spoonful of ghee (clarified butter) into their pans. The ghee melts into a clear, fragrant† pool. Cumin seeds crackle. Slowly, the air fills up with the irresistible aroma of asafoetida powder. A few quick manipulations later, there is dal: a beautiful shade of yellow, piping hot, and ready to pleasure the palate.”
Click here for her recipe and for more on her favorite comfort food.