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By the turn of the decade, “mood food” swung from savoury to sweet. The country sought sinful solace in ice cream, pudding, pie, and, of course, chocolate.
The 1970s and early 1980s gave us plenty of foods we’ve all but forgotten—fondue, bread bowls, raspberry vinaigrette—and at first, comfort food followed the same trajectory: from popularity to commodification to backlash.
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Chicken soup also quickly earned the title, a soothing meal with an appeal that cut across demographic divides. But from there, tastes diverged.
The key word in Minnelli’s definition, it turned out, hadn’t been “yum” but “you.” The comfort foods of the 1970s were intensely personal, somethi...
Giving these sometimes-unusual dishes the label comfort food was a bit of permission to admit to one’s indulgences—at least until the diet industry tried to claim the term. Their idea of comfort had always been a little bit different.
In a 1966 book titled “The Thin Book by a Forme...
For years, countless diners and cafeterias had been serving the type of 1950s middle-class, Midwestern cuisine that was, by the mid-1980s, what people meant when they said “comfort food.”
By the early 1980s, the country’s top chefs wanted a taste. The Los Angeles Times marvelled ...
The dueling diet trends of the 1990s should have spelled the end for comfort food. The decade began with low-fat and then no-fat products crowding the supermarket shelves and ended with its mirror image: the low-carb dictates of Atkins. The 1993 debut of the Food Network, too, should have doomed ...
In the midst of the upheaval of 2020 that we are, collectively, craving comfort food—the term now so ingrained in our vocabulary that we apply it not just to soothing sustenance, but also to the unchallenging and often nostalgic music, movies, and other entertainments we’ve embraced during the q...
Meanwhile, the food writer Jane Stern despaired at the phone calls from high-end restaurants she and her husband, Michael, fielded after publishing their cookbook on the topic. These dishes didn’t belong in fancy dining rooms, especially not at twice the price. “The point is that food is more tha...
Before Minnelli, comfort food had been the bland fare of the young, the elderly, and the ill. In the decade after, the two words grew slowly into an inescapable food fad, and now, a half-century later, comfort food has become a trend that will never end.
Potatoes were the 1970s original “co...
Among the earliest cookbooks to spot the public’s yearning was The Best of Electric Crockery Cooking. When it was published in 1976, the book sold itself as a gourmet’s guide to the new-fangled Crock Pot. But, by 1978, it was advertising its step-by-step instructions for meatloaf and min...
In the pages of Bon Appétit, M.F.K Fisher rhapsodized about milk toast, a dish that “seems to soothe nerves and muscles and mind altogether.” She published the only recipe for comfort food anyone will ever need. You can debate the merits of buttered toast drowned in warm milk seasoned w...
As we quarantine with macaroni and cheese, meat and potatoes, and other high-calorie comfort foods to ride out the pandemic, let’s pause to give a moment’s thanks to Liza Minnelli.
In 1970, the young actress was perhaps the first—and certainly the most glamorous—to coin the modern usage of ...
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