Good food always evokes positive feelings in me. At home, the moment I smell something nice from the kitchen, I practically run down the stairs to get a first-hand view and taste of the dish. Since childhood, I have been fond of certain dishes but I dislike some ingredients so dishes having those elements do not probably evoke as much a sense of positivism even though I have no qualms eating those.
Back in my school days, I used to come home every evening wanting to eat Maggi noodles. Of course, my mother wouldn’t cook it for me every day or even alternate days (she was pretty apprehensive about the effects of having noodles every evening), but on those days when I did have it, it was pure bliss. It would instantly make me energetic after a particularly tiring day. More than the biscuits and cakes, it was those noodles that I longed for. Even to this day, Maggi noodles (not just any noodles, I need this brand) holds a special place in my heart as a comfort food.
For me, comfort food means not just the food that evokes nostalgic memories, but it’s also the food which gets the best out of me. There have been times when I have been really down that I don’t feel like eating absolutely anything. During those times, Uzhunnu Vada or the ubiquitous Ghee Roast can make me feel a lot better. I would not like to categorize these as stress buster foods. Even when I’m not stressed, eating those has the same sense of elation.
I’ve also come to define comfort food as the dish you eat the most when travelling. Over the years, I have accumulated a few comfort food dishes so that in case one isn’t available, I can look for the other. With travelling there is this mystery of the food at the destination. The thing I look for as comfort food on such occasions is something I can have very easily. While inside India, this has been no problem. But when travelling outside the country, finding a comfort food can be a problem because your sense of smell identifies new ones and choosing what you really like can be difficult. But once you get used to it, you start identifying that particular food which can really make you at ease just by looking at it! Several years ago when I was in the US, I took to Chicken McNuggets as a comfort food source. Believe me, it did make me comfortable!
I revel in the constancy of the comfort food choices. It helps me pick the ones I need when I need. I’m not sure if with age, there will be a change in my choices. But for now, I’m comfortable with my comfort food!