WIth the evenings darker, the weather colder, a second lockdown underway and 2020 an all-round struggle, we’ve been in the mood for some serious comfort food, and Team Easy Food has been reminiscing over the childhood meals that we still love as adults.
For me, it’s my Mum’s cottage pie, smashed “googy egg” in a cup or — when things are really dire — just a big ol’ bowl of mashed potato with onion gravy. For Editor Caroline, only a bowl of buttery, cheesy pasta will do — unless she has access to her Dad’s meatballs in tomato sauce, that is. Food Stylist Shannon seconds the vote for buttered pasta (I mean, who wouldn’t?) while Digital Executive Brooke, having grown up in the much warmer climes of Australia, craves a bowl of ice cream topped with Milo, a chocolate powder usually used to flavour milk.
After some nostalgic reminiscing over the comfort foods we’ll carry with us through the rest of our lives, we turned the question over to you on Instagram. Here are the meals that remind you of your childhoods and offer comfort when you need it the most…
Bacon and cabbage featured heavily — no surprises there, seeing as it’s a classic Irish fare that “sticks to your bones,” as any Irish Mammy would tell you. Other traditional favourites included shepherd’s pie, Dublin coddle and a hearty bowl of stew, with chicken stew specifically mentioned as a break from the usual beef or lamb.
It came as no surprise that a classic roast chicken dinner saw a lot of love, too, as did sausages and mash and hot, salty chips straight from the deep fat fryer. We saw quite a few devotees of rice pudding, which makes sense: it’s possibly the softest, least demanding comfort food you could feed yourself. Special mention goes to the reader who reminisces about a stuffed roast heart — one of my own Mammy’s favourites when she was growing up.
Breakfast for dinner
What is it about eating breakfast foods for dinner that is so satisfying in a child-like sort of way? I wasn’t the only person to crave a “googy egg” when I’m feeling low, and others were quick to name “eggs, beans and chips” and “sausage, scrambled eggs and toast” as their go-to options.
While it’s a staple in many an Irish dinner rotation, we were honestly a little surprised by how many of you turn to beef mince when you want a taste of your childhoods. Cottage pie aside, you look for simple, straightforward mince and potatoes; curried mince; and an intriguing mince, pepper and sour cream pie made by someone’s mother. “Sounds odd,” this person clarified, “but it’s amazing!” Of course, the reason so many of us ate so much mince as children is because there wasn’t much in the way of money, especially in the days pre-Celtic Tiger. “We had no money and ate mince every day for three years,” is a comment with which I’m sure many can identify.
Pasta, of course
While it arrived on Irish shores relatively recently, we’ve enthusiastically embraced pasta with all the usual love we shower on carbohydrates. Mac ‘n’ cheese, sausage pasta, spaghetti and meatballs and even a creamy vegan lasagne were each given a shout-out or two, while someone else jumped on the bandwagon with “spaghetti, butter and Parmesan,” upping the nostalgia factor by adding a glass of milk.
Have we missed any? What childhood food do you still turn to today? Let us know in the comments!