Mob's Favourite Comfort Foods
A shepherd’s pie pulled straight from the oven, bubbling at the seams like molten lava. A freshly made miso soup that tastes as clear and clean as a wind chime. A mountain of spätzle so rich and cheesy that it puts Macauley Caulkin’s performance in Richie Rich to shame. Comfort food is the food that we turn to when we’re in need of a warm and satisfying stomach hug. Because we're all individual people with our own wants and needs, your comfort food is usually a very personal thing and it’s rare that one person’s comfort food will be exactly the same as someone else. Even identical twins might have a completely different dish they cook when they're feeling blue.
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” – that’s a quote from French lawyer, politician, and famed eater, Brillat-Savarin. Although Brillat-Savarin dropped that bar in his seminal work, The Physiology of Taste, which was published in 1825, I don’t think it’s a statement that has lost any of its prescience today. I genuinely believe that finding out what someone loves to eat is a great way of getting to know them. It's why having a date that involves some sort of food is a good idea before you decide to go steady with someone. You wouldn't want to accidentally end up in a relationship with someone that doesn't eat vegetables now, would you?
In order to get to know my colleagues better – and in order to celebrate the existence of our Comfort MOB cookbook – I decided to go round the houses in Mob and ask our talented members of staff what their favourite comfort foods are. Here are Mob’s favourite comfort foods.
Tina Bozorgi, Project Manager
"My go-to comfort food would be my mums ash-e-reshteh which you could say is an Iranian take on minestrone. It’s a hearty noodle soup packed with pulses, lentils, spinach, fresh herbs and topped with kashk which is an Iranian whey dressing. Typically eaten around wintertime – or on Charshambeh Suri, the festival of fire – it’s nourishing, heart-warming and fills me with nostalgic childhood memories."
Sophie Wyburd, Senior Food Producer
"My favourite comfort food is, without a doubt, lasagne. Growing up, it was a real joint labour of love between my parents to make one. Mum would get the bolognese on to simmer for most of the day (if you've eaten my mum’s bolognese you'll know about it – it is the greatest ever). Dad would then take the baton and make a béchamel rich with nutmeg and parmesan, layer it with lasagne sheets, and get it in to bake for an hour. Carved into big squares and eaten with a sharp green salad, it is still one of my happiest food places to visit. No food is more like a hug."
Lucas Oakeley, Senior Content Editor
"Comfort food, to me, means coming home after a tough day at school to the smell of a fish pie gurgling away in the oven. A lot has changed since my primary school days – I'm a lot hairier and slightly taller, for instance – but I’d still rate fish pie as my ultimate comfort food. There’s something transportative about that dish; it emits a literal and emotional warmth that scratches my soul and soothes my stomach in a way that nothing else can. Generous chunks of smoked haddock, salmon, and prawns all eat tremendously when cosseted in a creamy, cheesy sauce and a tundra of mashed potato that doesn’t mask the dish's fishy flavour but helps to usher it gently along your palate. That richness, which is only occasionally interrupted by a fresh burst of forest-green peas and a tickle of mustard, is still something that I seek out whenever I’m feeling low."
Olivia Thomasson, Head of Partnerships
"My favourite comfort food of all time is baked camembert - with the half-baked bread you finish cooking yourself, swimming in Lurpak slightly salted. Is it healthy?! No! But delicious and warming? Absolutely! Shoving some little cloves of garlic and sprigs of rosemary in there takes it to another level. As does a thin little layer of honey on top. I would absolutely be lying if I said I hadn't eaten a whole baked camembert with a spoon before. Then there was the time I ordered four across the course of the week in various restaurants. Don't @ me!"
Jack Parton, Events Manager
"Maybe, after 5 years of making it as my job, I'm a bit biased: but how can there be anything more comforting than pizza? Deep dish, New York-style or Neapolitan, there's nothing more reassuring than a big, cheesy, tomato-y hug from the king of carbs. Whether you're coming back from a stressful day of work, wanting something to enjoy with friends and family, or dying a death in bed after a big night, there is no occasion where a little bit (or a lot) of comforting pizza won't do the job. If your stomach is fragile, then keep it simple with a margherita. If you're wanting something deeper, then load up on spice with pepperoni and ‘nduja, or go for something more decadent with fancy cheeses and salty hams or exotic vegetables (Just keep your pineapple to yourself, you animal.)"
Will McSweeney, Talent Manager
"My ultimate comfort food is definitely chicken wings, and that's for a number of reasons. I mean, versatility for one. They can look super pretty on a plate at a Michelin-starred restaurant if you do 'em right (deboned and stuffed) but then you've also got your standard fried chicken wings from the local chicken shop. Cheap as chips. Or cheap as chicken wings. They can be eaten anytime, anywhere, and that availability is key. They can be barbecued, they can be grilled, they can be fried, they can be baked, they can even be roasted. It doesn't matter what you do to them because they're all good. Chicken wings also fit the bill of proper comfort food because they fit within every cuisine as well. You can have Asian-inspired wings, you can have big fat American wings, and you can even have English wings. One of the classic English recipes that everyone forgets: why not have a roast dinner with fucking chicken wings? The world is your chicken wing."
Sophie Kenny-Troughton, Studio Manager
"My mum's homemade pasta and pesto has been my favourite meal since I can remember – soooo comforting and always bangs."