Comfort FoodMeanings and Memories

Comfort FoodMeanings and Memories

Michael Owen Jones and Lucy M. Long

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781496810847

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


As a subject of study, “comfort food” is relevant to a number of scholarly disciplines, most obviously food studies, folkloristics, and anthropology, but also American culture studies, cultural studies, global and international studies, tourism, marketing, and public health. This volume explores the concept of “comfort food” primarily within a western context with examples from Atlantic Canada, Indonesia, England, and various ethnic, regional, and religious populations as well as rural and urban residents in the U.S. It includes studies of a wide range of dishes—bologna to chocolate, sweet and savory puddings, fried bread with an egg in the center, dairy products, fried rice, cafeteria fare, sugary fried dough, soul food, and others—exploring ways in which they comfort or in some instances cause discomfort and how they are connected to a sense of emotional well-being. Some essays analyze the phenomenon in daily life; others consider comfort food in the context of cookbooks, films, Internet blogs, literature, marketing, and tourism. Recognizing that what heartens one person might discomfort another, the collection is organized accordingly, from pleasant and comforting to unpleasant or discomforting food experiences. Those foods and food experiences are then related to concepts and issues such as identity, family, community, nationality, ethnicity, class, sense of place, tradition, stress, health, discomfort, guilt, betrayal, and loss, contributing to a deeper understanding of comfort food as a significant social category of human behavior.