If there are two words more, well, comforting than ‘comfort’ and ‘food’ then I am yet to hear them (although ‘Obama’ and ‘landslide’ do come a very close second). Even the simple act of saying those two little words can cause smiles and quivers of anticipation and an insatiable desire for a large plate of something warming and stodgy.
Comfort food is more than sustenance. It is food for the soul as well as the belly, a meal that warms the heart and the head in equal measure and leaves you in a faint fug of tiredness with a look of happy exhaustion playing across your face and a desire to fall asleep on the sofa while episodes of favourite comedies play themselves out on the television.
It is a concept that means different things to different people. One of the most interesting occurrences to come out of the ‘Desert Island Food’ game was the stark difference in what is considered to be comforting. For those raised on a western European diet, potatoes and bread feature heavily whilst those of Asian extraction showed a bias for rice. I dare say that, broadly, the pattern would be repeated in other parts of the world and I look forward to reading more ‘Desert Island Food’ lists. If you haven’t yet taken part, the original post is here.
With the mornings and evenings getting increasingly cooler, we’ve finally had to succumb to the wonders of central heating. We’ve also had our chimneys swept so that we can enjoy a real log fire instead of merely flicking the switch to turn on the radiators – far more appropriate, and satisfying, for life in the countryside.
There are few meals more apt for eating in front of a crackling fire than sausages and mashed potato, complete with decadent amounts of onion gravy, naturally. Add to that a bottle of rib-stickingly thick red wine and a few episodes of The Wire and you have a recipe for the ultimate comfort scenario. So, that’s exactly what we did.
Sadly no photos – by the time it was all ready the light had gone and we were left with an un-photographable plate of deliciousness – but for lunch I turned the leftover mash (pepped up with some fiery English mustard) into potato cakes, fried in a little olive oil and goose fat.
This is the best use of leftovers ever. Ever. Ever. I challenge you to think of one that trumps it.