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It is a cold and rainy afternoon. You decide that a bowl of chicken soup would hit the spot. While eating the soup, you smile as you are reminded of a rainy day when you were young and your mother made you the same soup. Ever had a craving for a pint of Double Chocolate Chip ice cream when you were sad? A turkey sandwich when you were happy?
These are comfort foods; A specific food consumed under a specific situation. In essence, a comfort food is a food a person eats to obtain a degree of psychological comfort. This may be a bowl of soup on a cold day, a pint of ice cream when we are sad, or a turkey sandwich when we are happy.
Wansink, Brian and Cynthia Sangerman (2000). The Taste of Comfort: Food for thought on how Americans eat to feel better. American Demographics, 66–67.