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Exploring the Comfort-Food Connection

Does the mere memory of the lasagna your great-aunt served almost 20 years ago cause feelings of love and affection as thoughts of family connectedness come rushing back to you? Or maybe a smell mildly resembling that of your grandfather’s Italian beef brings soul-soothing thoughts of your childhood home to mind? If so, you’re not alone: everyone has their own unique associations with comfort food. Let’s take a closer look at this powerful phenomenon, along with some gourmet gifts offering more than a side of nostalgia.

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The History of Comfort Food

Merriam-Webster defines comfort food as “food that is satisfying because it is prepared in a simple or traditional way and reminds you of home, family, or friends.” The Oxford Dictionaries, meanwhile, describes it as “food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.” While these definitions may be dense in verbiage, they boil down to one basic truth: food that makes you feel good.

Understanding why certain foods have the power to transcend merely tasting good to become something that actually feels good, however, is a more complicated undertaking. While some people link the concepts of comfort and caloric, psychologists point out that the true essence of comfort food lies in something more: a feeling of belonging.

This is backed by research from the University at Buffalo and published in Psychological Science concluding that the more people felt emotionally connected to their food — in this case, the mother of all comfort foods, chicken soup — the more fulfilling they actually found the food to be. The researchers’ conclusion: “Chicken soup really is good for the soul.”

Mail Order Comfort Foods

While your great-aunt’s lasagna and your grandfather’s Italian beef may only live on in your memories, today’s mail order foods offer the chance to recapture those long-lost feelings, if not the foods themselves.

And where else to start but with chicken soup? Whether you’re coming out of the cold on a snowy night, battling off a cold, or simply craving something pure and delicious, time-honored specialities from institutions like Ben’s Best Kosher Deli, Grandma’s Chicken Soup, and Kenny & Ziggy’s Delicatessen offer different yet equally delicious spins on a true classic.

But chicken soup is just the start. Raffetto’s Lasagna, Lobster Bisque from Turner’s Seafood, and Bartolini’s Meatballs in Red Gravy each offer roads back home to long-ago kitchens.

Comfort food

Warm. Delicious. Soul-soothing.

Give the Gift of Comfort

With the holidays approaching, you may find yourself wondering what to give the loved ones in your life. Even if you’re shopping for the impossible-to-shop-for “person who has everything,” gourmet gifts from FoodyDirect offer something no one can ever have too much of: comfort. This holiday season, shop FoodyDirect for mail order feel-good meals sure to elicit everything from positive memories to profound feelings of satiation — both in the stomach and in the soul.