As anyone who has been around me much at all can confirm, I get wacky food cravings. Many times these cravings are for dishes I consider comfort food.
This led me to consider what those dishes are, and why they have that place for me.
I think many of my comfort foods are ones I've eaten for many years, like 干炒牛河 (gān chăo niú hé: a. k. a. beef chow fun), or macaroni and cheese. Meat loaf is another. So are 水饺 (shuǐjiǎo: boiled dumplings), with some fairly pedestrian filling like 猪肉白菜 (zhū ròu bái cài: pork with Chinese cabbage). Some dessert foods are also, like ice cream sandwiches, or a 蛋挞 (dàn tà: egg tart). Or 杏仁豆腐 (xìng rén dòu fu: almond jelly/almond tofu/almond junket) but the kind made with agar, not tofu or gelatin (despite the names).
Occasionally, though, the craving is for something I never ate as a child, but nonetheless still fills the comfort food niche, like Cincinnati chili or Saag (साग/ساگ). (bedfull_o_books also considers Saag a comfort food. Neither of us grew up with it.)
I suppose it's all about keeping my not-so-inner child fed. That kid likes fat, sweet, and salt, it seems, and searches for the uncomplicated, unchallenging tastes I grew up with.
What foods say "comfort food" to you? What about them makes them comfort food?