What Are Comfort Foods and Why Do They Work?

What Are Comfort Foods, and Why Do They Work?

Smell and taste are our most emotional senses, and really, it’s the smells of our childhood that have the most profound imprint on our lives. The aroma of your favorite childhood dish stirs fond memories. For instance, freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies may bring to mind a cherished loved one baking in the kitchen. 

The term “comfort food” typically beckons imagery of being surrounded by loved ones in celebration of an event or holiday. It’s the time of year when the crunch of leaves and the crisp air invite cravings for warm, indulgent, and wholesome comfort meals. With each mouthful of rich flavors, our bellies and hearts warm with gratitude and an overall feeling of contentment. The comfort foods we indulge in evoke these feelings of satisfaction, but the meal’s intentions and memories also contribute to our future feelings of familiarity. 

Carbs, Cream, and Calories

When we eat pasta, cake, and other indulgent meals high in calories, we stimulate our brain’s reward system, which leads to feelings of instant gratification. 

Rich and creamy sauces, casseroles, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf are all foods that lift our spirits, encouraging us to turn to them for a sense of comfort and safety. We seek comfort foods because of how we feel while consuming them – secure, warm, and content. Even if just temporarily, we can hold back anxious thoughts and replace them with pleasure and joy. So, when we eat these meals, we begin to associate them with the security and comfort felt in that moment. Makes sense, right? 

Just one bite or a whiff of our favorite comfort foods can prompt an emotional reaction, where snippets of happy memories flood into our thoughts. These foods are always there for us and rarely disappoint. It’s not just the comfort food we crave, but the memories and emotions attached to it. 

Nostalgia in the Kitchen 

Because we often link comfort foods to a time or event when a home-cooked meal was a shared experience, the foods we associate with our childhood family memories are potent in our recall of them. We feel at home when eating certain comfort foods, even when we are far from any place we could call “home.” While physically apart, comfort food connects us to our loved ones like nothing else does.

The magic of comfort food is its ability to make us feel emotionally connected with the people and memories written in our hearts and minds, no matter the physical distance or the amount of time that has passed from the initial experience. 

Creating a Comforting Atmosphere 

What do you need to create the reminiscent, cozy atmosphere associated with comfort meals? Before digging in, recall how your past experiences indulging in home-cooked meals became some of your fondest memories. Whether it was a four-course meal or macaroni and cheese, eating these foods take you back to the aforementioned times. Even the simplest of appetizers and desserts remind you of previous positive experiences. 

Whether dining alone or hosting a large dinner party, the ambiance you create sets the mood for the evening. Dust off the silver cutlery and set out your most elegant candlesticks and napkin holders. Planning the perfect intimate dinner at home is a gift for all involved, including yourself, because it too may become a nostalgic memory one day. 

Looking for some perfect comfort food dishes, but would rather have all the benefits without the stress of cooking? We’ve got you covered. Our customized weekly meal service allows you to personalize your favorite comfort dishes for the whole family. Our menus, delivered right to your door, are created with your culinary preferences in mind, designed to provide you with a trip down memory lane or as a way to create new memories with your family. 

Consider our upcoming fall line-up, featuring Brown Sugar and Bourbon Glazed Meatloaf, Apple Braised Pork Cheeks, Coffee Rubbed Lamb Chops, and more! 

Let us help you create another reason to look forward to this holiday season, where you and your family get to enjoy your favorite comfort meals or even develop some new ones.

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