The Comfort Foods That Make a Home

Truth be told, my mother’s tuna casserole is not fancy or sophisticated. Yet whenever I think of it, my stomach growls and my heart swells. It is my comfort food. 

Comfort foods are those dishes that make us feel safe. As the name implies, they can bring comfort and a sense of home. When I think of Mom’s tuna casserole, I think of her old house – warm and cozy, with a Christmas tree in the corner and snow falling outside the window. Our old Schnauzer Guinness is either barking at a squirrel or curled up at my feet. Mom bustles in the kitchen, and I’m wearing pajama pants, the very picture of security and love. There is no world outside.

For many of us, the recipes of our family or culture play a role in our happiest and most potent memories. They help define us. We pass them on with pride and legacy.

According to the National Institute of Dieticians, comfort foods are usually simple, carbohydrate-based foods that have their introduction in childhood and carry sentimental value. That’s a fancy of way saying, “I loved grilled cheese when I was little, and I still do.”

When I first came home from college, homesick, heart-aching and filled with the confusion of a young adult going through a major life transition, I sought comfort. Comfort for me was Mom close by, the smell of home, and her tuna casserole, chasing away the worries of college.

Here at Anythink, we have a great selection of cookbooks filled with comfort foods, written by authors and chefs sharing a part of themselves. Some of my favorites for this holiday season are:

Alpine Cookbook: Comfort Food for the Mountains by Hans Gerlach

Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten

The Mile End Cookbook: Redefining Jewish Favorites by Noah Bernamoff

Comfort In an Instant by Melissa Clark

Fuss-Free Vegan: 101 Everyday Comfort Foods by Sam Turnbull

Atsuko’s Japanese Kitchen: Japanese Home Cooking by Atsuko Ikeda

Melba’s American Comfort Food by Melba Wilson

Cravings: All Together by Chrissy Tegan

To add to your comfort food list, below is Mom's tuna casserole recipe.

Colleen's Mom’s Tuna Casserole

One large can of tuna

One package of noodles (Farfelle or Conchighli preferred, but whatever is in your pantry works!)

One can of cream of mushroom soup

1.5 cups (or one empty soup can) of whole milk

Two cups of cheese

One cup of chopped celery

Salt, pepper and Nature's Seasoning to taste

Potato chips

Make the noodles according to the directions. Mix in a large bowl with all other ingredients. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes and then top with potato chips. (Yes!) Bake for 10 more minutes or until the chips are crispy. Serve immediately.

What are your favorite comfort foods or memories?