What kinds of meals are you making for your family during this quarantine?
Herrine Ro: In these stressful and uncertain times of quarantine, people from all over the world are seeking comfort in food. Comfort food can fix any bad day. It’s typically high insugar, fat, and/or salt. And the beauty of comfortfood is that it varies from person to person. It’s rooted in where you’re from and who you grew up with. We asked 20 people fromdifferent cultural backgrounds to share what comfort food is to them. I’ll start with mine. My favorite comfort food is kimchi jjigae, or kimchi stew. I’m Korean American, and, growing, up my mom made kimchi jjigae pretty often for dinner. My mom’s kimchi jjigae has that son-mat. Son-mat in Korean means, like, hand taste. The best way I can describeit is my mom’s special touch. Even if I try to makemy mom’s kimchi jjigae here in New York City,I can’t get that taste because it lacks my mom’s special touch. So, basically, the flavorsthat you’re getting are, like, spicy, salty, fatty, sour. It’s basically everything that I crave when I’m missing my mom. Tomi Obebe: I’m Nigerian,and one of my favorite comfort foods has tobe amala and okra soup. To make it, you take some yam flour and you pour it into boiling hot water, stir it up very quickly, and it gets to thisnice thick consistency. From there, you portionit out to whatever size you’d like for your meal. And then you can dip itinto your soup of choice. And not only is it a super-tasty meal, but after you eat it, [snaps] it hits you, and it puts you in oneof those nice food comas. I remember sneaking intothe kitchen as a toddler and trying to tear offsmall pieces of amala, or, like, the eru seedsthat they put in the soup and taking it back to my playroom. So, of course, now anytime that I have it, I just automatically think of home. Sarah Isoke: I’m Trinidadian, and my favorite comfortfood is bake and saltfish. Bake and saltfish is adish comprised of bake, which is dough rolled out, and a fish called bacalao. It’s a salted cod thatwe chop up, we boil, and we sauté with sweettomatoes and sweet onions. I think it’s my favoritecomfort food just because it brings back a memory of my grandmother. She used to own a daycare,and whenever she was making something with dough, like bake, she would roll up littlepieces of the dough and give it to the children to play with. And we would just go crazy for those little pieces of dough. Matthew Ferere: My favoriteHaitian comfort food is griot. Griot is fried pork shoulderthat has a special cut where it has just the right amount of fat and just the right amount of skin on it. You would season it well, bake it briefly, and then fry it. So, after that, it’ll get that nice crispy on the outside,tender on the inside taste. I can remember being a child, you know, at every Haitiangathering, family party, if you had griot on your plate that night, you knew it was gonna be a good night. Lisa Paradise: My comfortfood has always been pastina, which is like a really unhealthy version of Italian wedding soup. It has no vegetables. It’s really just pasta and meatballs. So, the way that mymom makes her meatballs is really what I always crave. She does a mix of pork, of ground pork, ground beef, and ground veal. And then she adds injust five ingredients. So, the five ingredients are salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and cheese. It’s not just, like, Parmesan cheese; it’s always pecorino Romano cheese. That’s, like, the go-to key ingredient. Whenever I go home or whenever I’m, like, sad or sick or whatever, that’s what I want my mom to make me, or that’s what I, like, want to eat. Naja Newell: I’m fromNew York, and my favorite comfort food is grilled cheese. Growing up as picky eater, grilled cheese was theNo. 1 thing I could get from every single family member and every single restaurant and it be almost the exactsame every single time. So, today when I makegrilled cheese for myself, I just use white or wheat bread, and I’ll use white American cheese. It reminds me of beingbest friends with my mom. Alyson Brown: I’m Alyson Brown, and today we’re gonna talk about beef patties, because that’s my favoriteJamaican comfort food. Growing up, my father used to bring home, like, a box of beef patties. And he used to put them on the table and it was first come, first serve, and if you did not get your beef patty, you would be tight. I love beef patties becauseof how diverse they are. You could get a beefpatty, a callaloo patty, a ackee patty, any type of patty. My family is Jamaican. The’re from Jamaica. I’m American, I was born here. But when we go to Jamaica, it’s over. The patties are, like, hotand ready. They delicious. Manuel Silva-Paulus: I’mfrom New York, I’m Dominican, and my favorite comfort food is mangu. Mangu is basically like mashed potatoes, but instead of potatoes, it’s plantains. And it’s a breakfast food, so most Dominicans willeat it in the morning. Mangu is typically eatenwith cebollas on top, which is onions; queso frito on the side, which is fried cheese; salami, which is a type of meant; and usually, like, some peoplewill get a fried egg on it. Personally, I love eggs,so I always get them on it. The reason why mangu ismy favorite comfort food, besides the fact that it’s delicious, is because it just reminds me of being in the Dominican Republic and just, like, being around great weather, sunny, like, just an all-around great vibe. Selena Singh: My comfortfood is pepperpot. It came from Guyana’s first people, known as the Amerindians. Pepperpot is a meal thatis boiled with cassareep and spices and any choice of meat, but my personal favorite is beef. It can be eaten with anything; bread, cassava bread, rice, anything you would like. Pepperpot reminds me of Christmastime and all the family time and a rich culture in Guyana. Samantha Lee: My favoritecomfort food is congee, a type of rice porridge. It’s often eaten with yau ja gwai, also known as a Chinese doughnut. There are also manydifferent types of congee. I’ve had it plain, with dried scallops, with preserved egg and salted pork, and just whitefish. Growing up, my mom would make this for breakfast some days, and she would also makeit for me when I was sick and I couldn’t keep any solid foods down. My mom passed away in January of 2018, so the process of makingcongee and eating it reminds me of her love, her dedication, and her patience as my mother. Isabella Paoletto: I’m Mexican American, and my favorite comfort food is tamales. Every year, my grandma andher sisters get together and they all make tamales forus to eat on Christmas Eve, so it really reminds me of home and of Christmastime and of my family, so it’s really special. My family makes thedish with shredded pork in a red chili sauce with green olives. Basically, right now only my grandma and my aunts know how to make it, but they’ve started to teach me and my mom and my sisters how to do it, so that way, we can pass it on to the next generation. Harry Kersh: My favorite comfortfood is Marmite on toast. It just has this reallyrich, really savory, and quite salty flavor. And it’s just really comforting, especially when it’s put onsome thickly buttered toast. I have very vivid memoriesof eating Marmite on toast, particularly when Iwas feeling a bit sick. I had an operation when I was 3 years old. I went under general anesthetic. When I woke up, the nurse said, “Is there anything we can get you?” And my first request was Marmite on toast. Nisha Stickles: My favoritecomfort food is kuay teaw, or Thai noodle soup. Thai noodle soup is the Thai equivalent of what a deli sandwich is to New Yorkers. And you can customize eachkuay teaw order to be your own. My go-to order is kuay teaw ped, so duck noodle soup with sen mee, which are the ricenoodles that are thinner than the ones you have in pho. And I only will eat itin this one noodle shop, and I refuse to have it elsewhere because they just make it so special. And it sucks because Ican’t really replicate that experience in anyThai restaurant here since they don’t reallyspecialize in that. Jennifer Hernandez: Myfavorite comfort food are Colombian arepas. Arepas are cornmeal pattiesthat are typically made with salt, water, and masarepa. This is my favorite comfort food because when I was a kid, my dad and I didn’t have matching schedules at all. So by the time he would gethome, I was already sleeping, and we wouldn’t see eachother till the weekend. And at the weekends, our favorite family-time activity was to make arepas. It was also the first mealI learned how to make. So, we’re gathered in our tiny kitchen. Mold them together, putit in the stove top, and then once they were ready and hot, my dad would put butter on top, sprinkle it with a little bit of cheese, and it was delicious. And it’s still one of my favorite meals. Cory Villegas: My favorite comfort food is Puerto Rican pasteles de yuca. In Spanish, we call it amasa. It’s like a doughy kind of thing. It has, like… you can put stuff in it. So, you can put, like, meat, chicken, you can put vegetables. I mean, they wrap it around a banana leaf, and then they boil it. And we make them in bulk. I mean, it takes twoto three days to make. It’s my favorite comfort food because my aunts and mymom, they sit around, we talk, and they’re making this dish that is so reminiscent ofour Puerto Rican culture. Caroline Aghajanian: Mycomfort food is lahmajun. It’s a thin flatbread, almost like pizza, that’s enjoyed in andaround the Middle East. It’s typically made bytaking small dough balls and flattening theminto really thin pieces, and then it’s topped with beef or lamb, some vegetables, and spices, and then it’s cooked in theoven for just a few minutes. My family and I typicallybuy a dozen or so of them from Armenian bakeries orgrocery stores here in LA because they make them really tasty. Arturo Valenzuela: My comfortfood is aji de gallina. It’s a spicy chicken mixture that my grandma used to make all the time. A yellow pepper that’sfound in Peru, aji amarillo, is mixed with, you sauté some onions, then you’re gonna addsome chicken broth, milk, and crackers or bread. It’s a nice little paste sauce, and then with some boiledchicken that you shredded. Aji de gallina reminds meof just Peru in general. Living there, my grandfather had 50, 80 chickens, and my grandma would just grab one, and it would be fresh. Ruqayyah Moynihan: I’m BritishPakistani, and my favorite comfort food is a dishcalled aloo ki tarkari. The reason I love this dish so much is because it’s a curry. It’s very carby as opposedto one with lots of gravy. My mum usually adds to it aloo, potatoes; mirch, chili; namak, salt; haldi, turmeric; and then she adds somethingcalled panch phoron, which is a blend of five spices. You blend the spices, you fry them, you add your chopped-uppotatoes, add water, boil the water off, andlet the potatoes break up. It’s really heartwarming, very flavorsome. And it also reminds me ofcoming home from school and cooking with my mom, learning to cook withmy naani, my mom’s mom, who passed away a few years back. Barbara Corbellini Duarte:My two favorite Brazilian comfort foods are cheesebread and feijoada. For cheese bread, there’sdefinitely not an occasion. It’s just everywhere, all the time. You can eat it at any time of the day. It’s without a doubt thefood that I miss the most because it’s just the perfect snack. Feijoada is basically a giant black bean soup. It’s definitely somethingthat I grew up eating, and it’s very iconic in Brazil. Almost everyone eats it. Aynour Elkasaby: My favorite comfort food has to be ful, which is fava beans. And it’s usually served hot. And it’s really easy to make, so that’s why we make it all the time. It contains tomatoes, onions, some people put tahini in it, and we put in it a lot of spices. Usually, people eat it with pita bread. It’s my favorite comfort foodbecause, over the summer, my grandpa would makeit for breakfast a lot. So we’d wake up, and it would be there. So it reminds me a lot of home. Herrine: As social beings, social distancing may not be easy. Let’s do what we canand make the most of it by enjoying our favorite comfort foods. Let us know what yourfavorite comfort food is and why in the comment section below.