I think you can tell a lot about people based on what they love to eat: If they go to bed dreaming of bagels slathered in cream cheese, or wait each year until grilling season for authentic BBQ, or haunt the same local restaurant week after week for all-you-can-eat sushi.
A few years ago if you asked what my favorite comfort food meal was—the dinner I couldn’t get enough of—I’d say buffalo wings and pizza. It was the same thing we got every Tuesday night from a downtown restaurant where the pizza was particularly doughy and greasy and the wings drenched in batter and hot sauce. It wasn’t a particularly gourmet(or even good) meal but just the sight of it was familiar and inviting.
A lot’s changed since then. Having to stop eating gluten and becoming a vegetarian have opened my eyes up to a whole new set of foods. Most of all it’s shown me that there are healthier options than greasy pizza and fried chicken that can be just as familiar and comforting at the end of a long day.
When I was little I spent most of my Summer at my grandparent’s apartment since both my parents worked and they lived 1.5 miles away. My grandmother knew how to cook a few things, one of them being scrambled eggs that she cooked with a large wooden spoon and served with buttered toast. Now whenever I need that taste of home I go straight for the scrambled eggs—occasionally made with a wooden spoon—and served next to buttered home fries and a bed of steamed kale for color.
A lot of people will tell you the secret to good scrambled eggs is adding milk to the batter. I don’t think that’s it. The key to making good eggs is to take them off the heat before they’re finished cooking—when they’re mostly cooked but still have a glossy, wet shine on top. Eggs, like any protein, continue to cook even when they’re cooling; if you cook them fully on the stove, they’ll dry out as soon as you take them out of the pan.
And the secret to good potatoes? Time. Time in the oven, and then time on a hot pan on each side to get a brown crust. Oil, butter, and sliced onions never hurt either.
And of course there’s nothing more comforting than the whole plate covered in tangy, salty-sweet ketchup, coarse sea salt and fresh black pepper.
What’s the one meal that feels like home to you?