For me, comfort food has to be something that you don’t have often. Something that brings a warmth to you and is kept in fond memory until you have it again, when you eat far too much until you’re full, if not stuffed, in heart and belly.
My family has a fixation with pies. I think it’s mostly due to the flaky, buttery pastry that my mum has down to a fine art. I’ve already waxed lyrical about her apple pie for Exeposé, but the epitome of home comfort, especially if you’ve just got back exhausted from university, is coming to the family table for dinner and having my mum’s chicken, leek and bacon pie.
‘You eat far too much until you’re full, if not stuffed, in heart and belly.’
It’s a tale of two pastries: golden splinters of delicate puff on top with crumbly shortcrust beneath that’s perfect for soaking with gravy. Cutting open the pie unveils a flood of creamy, but not heavy, sauce studded with morsels of pastel pink and green deliciousness. Though this is as classic a British dish as it gets and can be found in any number of establishments, I’ll never order it. I just let anticipation tide me over until it’s on our table again.
Bringing this to the university kitchen can be done two ways. One, beg mum for the recipe and attempt to make it for an enjoyable but undoubtedly inferior recreation. Or two, bring the flavour combination to life another way! I like baking chicken breasts en papillote with finely sliced leeks (unpopular opinion: I can live without bacon) or poaching them in stock with other spring vegetables to make a light stew. No matter how you go about having your home comfort food, I think holding out to have it at home, like it’s always been, is the most worthwhile wait there is.