Talking and laughing with friends over a pizza, gathering with family around the table, sipping a bowl of Mom’s homemade soup when you’re not feeling well — it’s times like these that create the deep connections between physical and emotional nourishment that make comfort food so satisfying.
Every country has its iconic comfort dishes, from tamales in Mexico to a steaming bowl of phó in Vietnam. Here in America, we might seek out the soothing familiarity of meatloaf or mac ‘n’ cheese, or opt for a regional favorite like gumbo or chili. And whether it’s rice pudding or potato pancakes, the foods we learned to love as children are often the ones we still find comforting as adults.
While comfort foods may vary from family to family and from culture to culture, we all crave rich, deep, satisfying flavors. Not coincidentally, those adjectives also describe umami, the savory “fifth taste” that’s found in ripe tomatoes, cheeses, meat and condiments like naturally brewed Kikkoman Soy Sauce and Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce. And while you may think that Kikkoman sauces can only be used in Asian cooking, it’s that boost of umami flavor they give that enhances so many non-Asian comfort foods as well, from mouth-watering pot roast to savory pasta sauce.
Here are a few more ideas to make your meals more comforting: