15 of the World's Best Comfort Foods - Gastro Obscura

15 of the World’s Best Comfort Foods

Our readers share the favorite foods they eat to soothe their souls.

Soup is comfort food no matter where you are.
Soup is comfort food no matter where you are. cyclonebill/CC BY-SA 2.0

Holiday blues creeping in? Time to smother those feelings in a thick blanket of comfort food! And don’t feel bad, because you’re not alone. All over the world at this time of year, people are indulging in emotionally motivated eating habits. Recently we asked Atlas Obscura readers to tell us about their own favorite comfort foods, and after reading their submissions, I feel warmer inside already.

You suggested everything from Indonesian noodles to Welsh seaweed bread to oh-so-many soups. Many of your responses also made a clear connection between a beloved comfort food and a treasured personal memory. But no matter the reason, each and every one of your replies made a strong case for filling one’s spirit as well as one’s stomach.

Take a look at a collection of some of our favorite submissions below, and maybe you can discover a new comfort food to power you through the rest of the holiday season.


Shoshanah/CC BY 2.0

Chicken and Dumplings

Tell us about your comfort food

“Warm-salty-chicken-carb goodness!”

When do you eat it?

“When the world has been cold, cruel, rude or mean to me.” — Babzilla, Lexington, Kentucky


anokarina/CC BY-SA 2.0

Scrambled Eggs With American Cheese

Tell us about your comfort food

“This was the first thing I learned how to cook for myself. My sister taught me how to make it, and I suppose it always takes me back to her warmth and nurturing ways.”

When do you eat it?

“At the end of a really tough day, I’ll make it so that I can have breakfast for dinner. I’ll switch into pajamas as early as possible, whip up some eggs, and serve it with buttered toast. Heaven.” — Lainie L., Chicago, Illinois


Magali Kunstmann-Pelchat/CC BY-SA 3.0

Blanquette de Veau

Tell us about your comfort food

“My mom made it numerous times over the winter growing up in Cleveland. My mother, a Parisian transplant, brought her love of soups and stews to our home.”

When do you eat it?

“When I’m sad.” — Martine Rothstein, Morristown, New Jersey


Alexandratx/CC BY-SA 2.0

Pasta and Cheese

Tell us about your comfort food

“Hot, melty cheese and soft pasta with any savory sauce. It just tastes amazing.”

When do you eat it?

“Once a week if I’m lucky! I cook for my family, so when I feel like it, I’ll make it.” — Laura, South Africa


ALLOTMENT2KITCHEN/Used with Permission

Laverbread (Mixed with Oats and Fried)

Tell us about your comfort food

“It reminds me of Sunday morning cooked breakfasts with my parents when I was growing up. It was a big treat and, being so far from fresh lavabread [sic] now, it’s even rarer to have it these days. It’s hearty, goes well with the other elements of a British cooked breakfast (especially some Scottish additions). And most importantly, it’s a reminder of simpler times.”

When do you eat it?

“Sunday breakfasts, especially during the (even more dark) winters up here in Scotland.” — Adam Fenton, Scotland


Marco Verch/CC BY 2.0

Rice Pudding

Tell us about your comfort food

“It’s sweet, it’s creamy, it’s filling, and I prefer it hot, right from the stove. My mom, who passed away, used to make this for my brothers and me. We used to eat it topped with cinnamon sugar. I still make it using her recipe from time to time.”

When do you eat it?

“When I’m really cold. Or when I’m sad. Or… who needs a reason?” — Carin Jansen, Netherlands


Vee Satayamas/CC BY 2.0

Asian Beef Noodle Soup

Tell us about your comfort food

“I grew up with it as a child. It’s warm, meaty, and rich, but also not too heavy, and it takes your full attention to eat.”

When do you eat it?

“Winter.” — Brandon, Alabama


Jess (Paleo Grubs)/CC BY 2.0

Just Soup in General, Really

Tell us about your comfort food

“Due to the relatively straightforward preparation it involves and cheap ingredients, soup is a staple. A lot of people eat it in their childhood; some will grow up to hate soup and some will grow up to like it. I’m in the second group. Soup is nutritious, filling, and comforting, and takes you back to a time when everything was simpler (let’s face it, being an adult is exhausting).”

When do you eat it?

“I will turn to soup when it’s cold outside, when I’m sick, or just when life is too much to bear.” — Diana Rocha, Lisbon, Portugal


mroach/CC BY-SA 2.0

Sweet Potato Casserole

Tell us about your comfort food

“The warm sweet potato filling topped with candied pecans is about as Mississippi as collards and catfish. It reminds me of warm family gatherings in my home state.”

When do you eat it?

“Thanksgiving and Christmas.” — John B., Mississippi


Takeaway/CC BY-SA 4.0

Indomie (Ayam Bawang Flavor) With Rice

Tell us about your comfort food

“This food is crazy easy to make: boil water to cook the noodles, poach the egg, put everything into a bowl already sprinkled with seasoning, and eat it with a plate of steamy rice. Is it healthy? No. But is it satiating? Hell yeah. Is it filled with tons of flavor? Of course. The combination of the savory soup, the slick noodles, along with rice bits will always be beyond wonderful to me, regardless of how humble and simple it is. Plus, I ate this a lot back in Indonesia, and now that I’m far away from home, eating it’s probably more important than ever, to remind myself of it by eating it. Bonus points if you slurp the remaining soup after you’ve finished the rice and noodles. Absolute bliss for less than five euros.”

When do you eat it?

“Back home I’d always eat it whenever there was no other food lying around, but sometimes I’d eat it just when I felt like eating noodles, too. Nowadays it’s sort of a last-resort dish, but that’s only because I don’t have the privilege of having a quasi-infinite stock of indomie here in France.” — Fadi, France


Ewen Roberts/CC BY 2.0

Heinz Tomato Soup

Tell us about your comfort food

“As a child I suffered mightily from tonsillitis. And as I was allergic to penicillin there was little I could do to get over it. When I felt well enough to eat, Heinz Tomato Soup was my reward. And before you get all hot under the collar and say, ‘But Heinz don’t make tomato soup!’, I’d like to point out that I grew up in the U.K., where they certainly do! And I can buy it in New York City!”

When do you eat it?

“At home, with a bag of salted chips, in front of the TV.” — Nicola Lagonigro, New York City, New York


Miyuki Meinaka/CC BY-SA 4.0

Tuna Sandwich

Tell us about your comfort food

“On white, soft, Wonder Bread with diced pickle and onion with Hellman’s Mayonnaise. It reminds me of lunches that my mother made me as a child.”

When do you eat it?

“When I’m stressed.” — Niki Cotton, Alexandria, Virginia


Takeaway/CC BY-SA 3.0

Pho

Tell us about your comfort food

“Asian noodle soup of any kind is so satisfying, but if I’m feeling under the weather it has to be pho. There is something reminiscent of the chicken noodle soup my mom would make when I was sick as a child, but so much better. It hits the spot because it’s steaming hot, slurping noodling is so satisfying. The flavor is rich and fragrant at the same time, and if you make it spicy like I do, it feels so cleansing.”

When do you eat it?

“Anytime really, but I seek it out when I’m sick or hungover.” — Staci Owen, New York City, New York


titanium22/CC BY-SA 2.0

Sundubu

Tell us about your comfort food

“In winter nothing is better than stew, but none are as comforting as the boiling hot and spicy mixture of soft tofu, seafood, meat, kimchi, etc.”

When do you eat it?

“All year round, but not the easiest thing to find outside of Korea unless you live somewhere with a solid Koreatown.” — Jarryd, U.S.A.


Steve Depolo/CC BY 2.0

Hot Dogs and Beans

Tell us about your comfort food

“My mom used to make it for us and it was a special, fun dinner.

When do you eat it?

“When it’s cold and I’m in a bad mood.” — Allison Mick, Oakland, California

If you have a special comfort food of your own that you’d like to share, head over to our new community forums to tell us about it!

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