I have mentioned some of my comfort foods before. There's spaghetti with tamari and mushrooms and Mexican rice made the way my grandmother makes it. In this post, I talked about making spaghetti the way we always made it at home, and mom immediately emailed me asking "Is anything wrong? Why are you reverting to your comfort food?"
One of the foods that was ubiquitous in our house growing up is shown in a pretty close rendition above: bread with melted parmesan, tomatoes, and Vegesal. In our childhood house, it was usually sourdough slices. Today, I used Acme epi baguette, dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes from Ella Bella, and parmigiano reggiano. I put the bread with parmesan under the broiler for a few minutes, and then added the tomatoes.
It's tempting to fancy it up with additional toppings or seasonings, but for it to be the comfort food of my childhood it basically needs to be only the ingredients above. For me, the only allowed substitution is avocados instead of tomatoes if I have them.
Since I've moved to San Francisco, my comfort food repertoire has changed somewhat. Now I include the following among my comfort foods:
- Pho from Yummy Yummy
- Beef bibimbap from My Tofu House
- Harvest Pork from Henry's Hunan
- Salmon wappa with ikura from Maki
- Lentil soup from Pizzetta 211
- Tacos al pastor from the El Novillo taco truck
I know that in American restaurants, comfort food dishes include meatloaf, short ribs, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, but when it's my turn for comfort foods, I turn to dishes that are slightly more eclectic.