When life gets stressful we often think back to simpler times. And with most of our days centered around three meals a day, food is a central part of our life experience.
I often hear customers mention their favorite foods from childhood. When I am with a tour group in Hungary, there is often a request for the very simple dishes. My tour partner, Andrea, cannot believe that people are requesting such uncomplicated and unrefined food when there are so many delicious and sophisticated options in Hungary. But, it makes perfect sense to me. When you are in a place surrounded by the language and music of your ancestors, you also think about and crave the foods that bring back so many memories.
Comfort foods are foods that conjure up good feelings and emotions connected to happy memories. Often they are very simple foods, born out of necessity and utilizing whatever ingredients are readily available. Sometimes a meal or dish can jet you back to a time when life was simpler. There may not have been much food around, but, as a child, you may not have known that. You just remember the aroma coming from the kitchen and the loving hands that prepared the meal. A skilled grandmother (nagymama) or mother (anyu) can whip up something amazing with very few items, mostly from the backyard. That backyard might have a large vegetable garden, a few farm animals, and fruit and nut trees.
Comfort foods do not have to be complex, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t works of art! Happy memories don’t always come out of a great monetary investment. Sometimes, a little effort goes a long way!
My top comfort food is definitely a clear bone broth soup with uncut vegetables and thread noodles, known as Húsleves. The aroma of this soup is amazing as it slowly steeps on the stove all day.
Chicken paprikás is another one. My mom served it with sour cream and the nokedli (dumplings) were perfection. I didn’t even really care for the chicken! Just a serving of the dumplings with the gravy and I was in heaven!
I could go on but I won’t because I want to hear from you!
So, tell me, what is a comfort food for you? I’ll gather the names/descriptions of these foods and share it. Why make a list? Because seeing these things will inspire people to talk about them and recall important memories, recipes, and ideas that might get lost in the busyness of living our regular lives. And, it might encourage people to drag out some old recipes and make them for the next generation.
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