The expression "comfort food" seems to have made the common language scene as far back as 1966, when the Palm Beach Post used it in a story on obesity. The headline "Sad Child May Overeat" offered us this breaking news: "Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called 'comfort food'—food associated with the security of childhood, like mother's poached egg or famous chicken soup."
Even before the advent of 60s psychology though, we've always known these two eternal truths: Food is fuel. And food is comfort.
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the etymology of "comfort food" to an old Washington Post article: "Along with grits, one of the comfort foods of the South is black-eyed peas."
Shira Gabriel, an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York, Buffalo, simply defines "comfort food" as anything that a person uses to "feel better."
Yes, we absolutely needed to find a professor to tell us that.
So when someone in the 1970s South was having a bad day, they went for black-eyed peas. But on TV these days, we might see a woman totally distressed... and busting out the Ben & Jerry's.
Of course, not all food is optimal for both, a soothed soul and a healthy body. And it's probably not the best idea to equate comfort with calories.
But we don't have to anymore. We have Nalley Fresh. Have you seen the "What's Fresh Today" section of our website lately? What could be more comforting than knowing that you're putting delicious and healthy food in your pie hole for a new kind of comfort zone? And if you want to know precisely what you're getting, use the handy-dandy nutrition calendar to take your comfort level up a few more notches.
And of course, Chef Greg can always arrange to get you some black-eyed peas.