Do you know what chicken noodle soup, kim chi, fried chicken, and that odd sunny-side up fried eggs have in common? They are all considered as comfort food. While each person has his own preferred dish, the fact that they derive some sense of contentment and peace when they eat these foods brings up some interesting possibilities.
Based on a study conducted by Jordan Troisi, researcher and doctoral candidate from the University of Buffalo, people who eat a specific kind of food with those they are close with often associate that food with them. By consuming comfort foods, people find that they are less lonely since the food reminded them of the companionship they enjoyed with others.
According to Troisi, the food itself has nothing to do with the effect. It is the people who consume comfort foods who have developed a connection between this specific dish to that specific person or group that they enjoy eating with. Comfort foods, in other words, serve as a bridge between people and those they are close with. Even when that close someone is not around, as long as the dish is there, then the people who consume it is more content.
This opens up one good question about this study: if comfort foods serve as a reminder of close relationships, and it can be any kind of food, then is it possible that all the stuff we hear in advertising and the likes may not actually be true? After all, we get all those hype on TV and radio about eating this and that to improve our relationship, the stuff that they call “comfort foods”.
This study shows is that we are the ones who are actually in control. We are the ones who decide about what kind of food that we associate with someone. Personally, it does pretty much jive with my thinking.
Come to think of it, some people I know find it weird that my comfort food is a bowl of chicken arroz caldo (rice porridge). But I can’t help it. It reminds me of those cold, rainy nights when me and my family would think of something nice and warm to eat.