The leaves on the tree outside this window are the sultry red that teenage girls dream of wearing on their lips when they are grown and sophisticated. (And then, if you’re like me, you realize that this red looks garish on lips, and is certain to smudge off as fast as the leaves are falling right now.)
Not only has Delicata squash arrived at the farm stands, but we almost have eaten our share. The brussels sprouts that seemed so out of place in September, at Frank’s produce stand at the Market, are looking quite normal now. (And I have to say that this Mark Bittman recipe for sprouts, bacon, and figs is looking pretty enticing to me.) And most mornings, I seem to want rice, or grits, or some warm grain, topped with a poached egg.
It’s definitively fall now.
This morning, rain drizzled down the window. My breath remained in the air when I ventured outside for the newspaper. The oven begged to be turned on.
Time to bake. Time to slow simmer, to braise. Time for comfort food.
Wondering what to make for dinner tonight, I put out the question on Twitter: What is the one dish you make that tastes the most like home?
The answers moved me so deeply that I’d like to share them with you.
@MrsNiddyNoddy Shepherd’s pie. With cabbage.
@grubreport Lamb chops and baked potatoes. It was my requested birthday meal as a kid.
@neversent Roast chicken & potatoes. Ham & cabbage, which my Ukrainian grandma served every new year, believing it brought good luck.
@LORIVE Arroz con Pollo!
@SaltySpoon Garlic herb hearth bread — we call it boyfriend bread b/c it turned my now-DH from friend to bf. The smell is heaven/home.
@sammeem Roast chicken with lemon and oregano.
@CarolBlymire Beef shortribs, veal stock, chard, kale, carrots, onion, leeks, fingerlings, limas or zucchini.
@CarolBlymire Sometimes, I throw sausage in there, too. It’s a clean out the fridge and freezer soup. Always different. Always perfect.
@artandlemons eggs and toast, simple yet full of so many possibilitites!
@sarahmcarter chkn soup from scratch.the smell of homemade stock, simmering for hrs, reminds me of all my favorite things about being home
@apronthriftgirl something my dad used to call rice fry. it consists of breakfast pork, green onions and brown rice mixed together. heavenly.
@andreajwalker roast turkey with gravy and potatoes and stuffing and green bean casserole (wait, I guess thats a whole meal)
@hungrygrrl no contest, chicken soup, chicken soup with rice.
@ jkwseattle a plate of beans with pepper sauce, cornbread, and a wedge of onion.
@mysocalledwendy Coffee cake.
@DJPegLeg Dumplings and wontons with homemade wrappers. Every Sunday my family would gather in the kitchen and make them.
@lofeisty My mom’s almond poppyseed bread. Haven’t made it since I went wheat-free … but it’s home. And the holidays.
@MarriedWDinner my mom’s meatloaf http://is.gd/4G5Em or the infamous “[not] spam & eggs” http://is.gd/4G5CW
@JosieLynne scrambled eggs. cheese. toast. It’s totally basic and completely comforting.
@sevenspoons dal and rice, masala dosa, scrambled eggs with cilantro, onions and chilies. Really good, strong tea. (not all at once)
@embedded_guy Grits and grillades
@marthasnail my mom’s baked macaroni and cheese.
@jenniferGFinGA Tuna Noodle Casserole!
@sandmuffin probably crawfish etouffée– my mom would always make it when I’d come home for a break from college!
@hungrybruno My default meal: sauteed greens, topped with crispy taters & a fried egg. Sometimes with bacon, always comforting.
@Adana Lentil soup over jasmine rice. It’s one of the first things I made for my husband.
@engineerbaker Chili & cornbread — chile from the Silver Palate, and my great grandma’s cornbread — northern & sweet!
@HeroBeth Avgolemeno Soup (Greek chicken lemon rice soup) from my YiaYia’s recipe.
@licorous thick delicious beef chili, i may need to start some right now:)
@SweetTartelette My grandma’s “riz au lait” (rice pudding) and her lemon yogurt cake.
@TailRoaster — two things: Roasted chicken; Biscuits and sausage gravy
@kelleil Easy, chili colorado with frijoles
@LisaKennelly Chocolate chip cookies. Double the chocolate chips.
@eddybles creamy chicken soup with dill dumplings and parsnips
@ScoopAdventurer My mom’s chili…it’s the only thing I can make that tastes exactly like her version and like home
@lornayee a coffee chiffon cake, the 1st cake I learned how to bake, and have made several hundred times over the years.
@chloerbass Funny, I’m on a similar train of thought today. Mine is either Caribbean pigeon peas & rice or pasta with pesto & peas.
@foodshots Shepherd’s Pie — without a doubt! http://tinyurl.com/ykv2rwj
@CannelleVanille for me it’s gotta be either lentil soup with chorizo and chard or tortilla de patatas. Or arroz con leche. So many & all gf!
@naturallyfrugal Beef stew. The smell alone makes me think of my parents & cold rainy days on the Island.
@kickpleat That would have to be tuna melts!
@cynnims It’s a little obvious I suppose, but roasted chicken. It’s on the menu tonight, first dinner at home in a week.
@Hedonia Pasta with red sauce, basta.
@MarcSeattle really really really bitter coffee.
@Coriantura Either butter scotch pudding, or chili, both homemade. Can’t make up my mind
@valenvitols @glutenfreegirl you know the answer in my case…arepas!
What I loved, besides the fact that dozens and dozens of people shared their dishes, is that they were all different from each other. (Hm. Two votes for Shepherd’s pie. I might have to work on that one soon.) If we were lucky enough to have parents who cooked decently, we love the meals our mother made us.
(I wonder what will be Little Bean’s comfort food when she’s older.)
Really, these all have to do with family.
This struck me especially hard today because I had just finished reading this moving piece about Thomas Keller in The New York Times when people’s answers came pouring in. Thomas Keller, who is known for being a perfectionist genius, softened when he began cooking for his aging father.
After reading this (please, do), I hope you call your dad.
And then tell us about your food that tastes like home.