A Look at The Complete Idiot's Guide to Comfort Food
Food is not just good to eat. Nor is it merely sustenance. It is cultural, ancestral, kindred, and personal. It can transport us back in time. It can make people happy. It can make people cry. It can comfort us in times of a crisis, and make all of our celebrations more memorable.
If you enjoy "comfort food," you will be happy to hear my friend and cookbook author Chef Leslie Bilderback has a new cookbook from the Complete Idiot's Guide series called Comfort Food. It "savors the flavors of home cooking with over 350 delicious recipes."
What Is Comfort Food?
I guess what foods you declare comfort food is based on individual tastes and memories. For example, growing up, I remember my mom preparing roast leg of lamb with mint jelly on Sunday afternoons. Now when I prepare leg of lamb at home, it conjures up great memories of those earlier meals and is "comforting." I'm sure we all have these memories.
Today, I think of meals like beef stew, pasta with Bolognese sauce (I plan to make some today), braised beef, lamb or pork shanks & homemade soups as some of my favorite comfort foods. These are meals that I enjoy preparing when it is cold outside while I'm watching a football game on a Sunday afternoon. Yes, you can make comfort foods all year long, but I yearn for them more often in the colder weather. Did I mention mashed potatoes?
But then again, a juicy cheeseburger grilled outside in the summer is also comforting and brings back memories of my dad starting the charcoal grill in our backyard. He would get busy with some project he might be working on and forget about the burgers or the chicken pieces and they would have a crispy exterior but we still enjoyed the food and loved the event.
So before I go too far down memory lane, let me tell you more about Chef Leslie's book. It's a guide filled with recipes that she describes as food that will "soothe your soul - and your stomach - with homemade favorites" like creamy potato soup, chili con carne, chicken a la King, Yankee pot roast, meatloaf, crab cakes, candied yams, and let's not forget green bean casserole or tuna casserole for that matter.
These are recipes that we are all familiar with and crave every once in a while. Chef Leslie offers over 350 "mouth-watering" recipes that are easy to make at home with step-by-step instructions as well as tons of helpful hints that only someone with her experience can provide.
What I really like about Chef Bilderback's recipes is she gives you a complete recipe with lots of how to's. They are not just a list of ingredients and a few lines of instructions. They really explain how to prepare the recipe so you get it right. My kind of recipe.
So if you are looking for a collection of simple recipes that will bring back memories of foods that you remember, I highly recommend you check out Chef Bilderback's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Comfort Food.
Tomorrow I will post one of the recipes my wife prepared from the book for Potatoes Anna that we served as a side dish. She added her own "comfort" addition to Chef Leslie's recipe that I think you will enjoy.
I'm in Ontario, Canada 60 miles north of Toronto where it is 21 degrees F at 10 a.m. Comfort food is what it is all about from here on in. I switch from Cheerios to hot oatmeal. Instead of a ham sandwich, i want a grilled cheese with creamy soup. And from potato salad to scalloped ones. So, yes, I get the idea. Maybe you could post the recipe for Mac 'n cheese from the cook book?!?