We shared an Instagram post recently on comfort foods and how they get a bad wrap. I wanted to just rant a little more on this topic as I think it’s extremely unhelpful and unhealthy to view comfort foods in the category of ‘bad food’ or ‘cheat food’ (I hate the term cheat food in general, but I’ll save that for another day!).
When I was young, comfort foods were always something I thought about fondly and looked forward to. I didn’t think of them in terms of having to earn them or burn them off, I just viewed them in terms of what they did—which was bring me comfort. I feel like everyone today has taken the comfort right out of comfort foods by associating them with terms like ‘unhealthy’ or ‘junk’, when in actual fact, even if you are into attaching labels to food (a habit I encourage trying to break!), you can’t blanket comfort foods with these terms at all, because everyone’s comfort foods are different.
My comfort foods list has a range of foods in them and they most definitely do not fit into any one category. Remember, all comfort foods are healthy because they provide you with a sense of joy. For me, most of my comfort foods remind me of fond memories or in some way contribute to my self care. I thought today would be a good opportunity to share some of my favourite comfort foods and the recipe for one of my favourites.
Raisin Toast. We shared this one on Instagram but it’s one of our favourites. It always brings back memories of winter mornings spent inside chatting with my family over thick, heavily buttered slices of raisin toast.
Humpty Dumpty Eggs. In keeping with a toast theme—toast in itself has always been a comfort food for me—Humpty Dumpty eggs (or boiled egg and soldiers, as you may know them) are the most comforting breakfast for me. We used to have them as kids whenever we stayed at my grandparents’ house, then once we had finished we would get to draw on the egg shell and sing Humpty Dumpty.
Pasta. Pasta served up in a big old bowl is one of my favourite ways to wind down after a busy day. I find that sitting down to a bowl of spaghetti or pesto penne always leaves me feeling satisfied and happy.
Peas. I have no idea why peas bring me such comfort but they really do. I’ll often just have a bowl full if I’m feeling peckish.
Roast Veggies. Roast veggies are on our table multiple times a week. They remind me of family and many nights spent eating them at our dinner table. Whenever mum did roast veggies for us as a kid we would all fight over any leftovers.
Cheese Sauce. I shouldn’t even have to explain this one, I mean seriously I don’t understand people who don’t like cheese sauce! It’s the best thing in the world, my Neany (grandma) would always make it special for me whenever I slept at her house. It’s a pretty standard recipe but I thought for anyone who doesn’t yet have it in their repertoire I would share my Nean’s version.
Nean’s Cheese Sauce
- 70g butter
- ½ cup flour
- ½ tsp finely grated nutmeg
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup cheese grated (I usually use a mixture of cheddar and parmesan)
- 1 tsp djon mustard (optional)
- Place butter in medium saucepan over medium heat and melt. Once sizzling, stir in flour and nutmeg and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in ¼ cup milk at a time until all milk is used. Take your time with this. Continue to whisk until sauce thickens (usually 10 minutes or so).
- Add in cheese and djon mustard and stir to melt in cheese. Season with a good amount of pepper. Serve.