When it comes to comfort foods, not just any food will do—don’t count on broccoli or cauliflower to come to your rescue. Comfort food should evoke fond memories. And It should be carby in order to turn on the serotonin, that “feel good” neurotransmitter in the brain.
Unquestionably, my favorite comfort food is potatoes. When I was a kid, we ate them in some form or another every day. (It must have been an Irish thing). My mother would make a big bowl of mashed potatoes for Sunday dinner to go with the fried chicken or roast beef.
In the following days, the leftovers reappeared as potato pancakes, soup, or a casserole. To this day, I find it hard to pass up a potato dish of any kind.
A Backward Glance
Our ancestors tried to lay on extra fat during this time of the year. They knew from experience that plump bodies were better prepared to survive harsh winters. (Sometimes I think my body believes it’s still living in the 15th century and needs the extra calories to protect me in cold weather.)
Maybe that’s why they call carby foods comforting. They keep you going in hard times.
Fall Calls for More Robust Fare
As the days grow cooler, it’s time to think about heartier foods. So, below, are a number of potato dishes I’ve served family and friends. The list is not exhaustive, but it shows what can be done with the humble root vegetable.