Foods To Bring Comfort

It’s Foodie Tuesday

Mmmm, Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese recipe

Food is such a source of comfort.  It’s how we celebrate, how we share, how we mark occasions, somber and sad, and of course the very happiest too.

Nothing like chocolate chip cookies.

My family has been sustained by the foods of friends over the last few weeks following a tremendous loss.  The muffins, coffeecakes and cookies, the casseroles and soups, the Sheppard’s, chicken pot, and apple pies have kept us going in no small way.

Or quite like a bowl of lentil soup

To not have to be encumbered by cooking – which I generally love, but it takes time and passion – and yet be so nourished, not just by the food, but the care too, is the most loving kindness. Really the greatest gift.

Now, with the distance of a month, which isn’t far at all, I’ve at least regained the ability to think.  And this is what I thought: Cold and flu season is about to descend on us; and that with the holidays, as joyous as they are, they often come with a measure of stress.

Thought number 2:  So how easy is it then, when we’re cooking up a storm, to make an extra batch for the freezer?  When things get busy or you and your family are run down, having a homemade stew or hearty casserole is so much better for you than pizza delivery.  And when the same happens to your friends and relatives, giving them the gift of a nourishing meal will really make even the hardest day, very simply, better.

Thought number 3:  If you’re looking to make up the ultimate care packages, consider including a hot water bottle and a box of tea.  To soothe the sorest throats, I brew green tea on the stovetop with a couple of tablespoons of finely julienned ginger, a pinch of cayenne and s touch of honey.  It will cure what ails you.

Here are some comfort dishes that are my go-tos:

A recipe I found on Epicurious years ago is a post-holiday staple.  Turkey pot pies, topped with a cheesey buttermilk biscuit.  Yum.

Image via Apple Bakery, where you can order fresh batches of this and other wholesome soups in the Ottawa, ON area

Not to toot my own horn, but I do make a darn good gingered squash soup that freezes well.  (Hint: the lentil soup on this page also does well reheated from frozen.)

This recipe for Baked Gnocchi in Tomato Gorgonzola Sauce from Canadian Living I’ve never tried to freeze.  But if you’re not making the gnocchi from scratch, the whole recipe takes about five minutes to prepare.  Honestly.  And it’s so hearty and rich.  I do add a pound of fresh baby spinach and some chopped sun dried tomatos for extra flavour and nutrition, FYI.

Image via I Should Cocoa who also gives a wonderfully detailed step-by-step guide to this magic cake's creation.

I also whip this recipe for French Apple Cake up.  It makes a spectacular gift: being gooey and delicious, pretty to look at, it also will make your home smell divine.

What are your favourite comfort foods?

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