Chocolate (dark, of course) would be one of my first choices, but sadly it isn’t generally considered a staple foodstuff, so the search goes on. Growing up as I did in a fairly large working-class family in industrial east Lancashire, high on my list of comforting dishes come the faithful old standbys of soups and stews. Warm, filling, meal-in-a-pot recipes, which can be made from very basic and inexpensive ingredients and can be relied upon to satisfy the appetites of growing girls.
I’m thinking here of
Lancashire hotpot, or ham and pea soup, or a big pan of meat and vegetable broth with dumplings. Dishes like these were the background to my childhood, and though my culinary repertoire is very much wider and more adventurous nowadays, when the chips are down (with or without fish) I still instinctively turn to them for comfort, especially in the cold, dark days of winter. And that’s before I even think about puddings, which, given my current waistline, are probably best avoided.
Fruit crumble, with custard naturally - cream was only for birthdays and Christmas. Or bread-and-butter pudding with lots of raisins, or my mother’s unforgettable rice pudding, with the crispy bits round the edge we girls would squabble over. I could go on, but you get the picture.
So now you know how I try to insulate myself, at least at mealtimes, from life’s ups and downs, do let me into the secret of your particular comfort foods. Who knows? There might be a cookbook in it. J
Image via Wylio