Islanders share favourite comfort foods for cold, snowy days

Credit: CBC

 

This week’s wintry weather had many people turning to their favourite comfort foods — shepherd’s pie, macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pie. Hungry yet?

CBC asked Islanders about their favourite stormy-day comfort foods, and talked to a Charlottetown business that’s made comfort food their specialty.

Here’s some of what you had to say when I asked for your nominees for your favourite winter comfort food on Facebook.

Valerie Acorn nominated “spaghetti dinner with garlic bread.”

“Homemade chicken pot pie!” said Molly McGrath, along with Sangeetha Young.

“Homemade stick-to-your ribs chili,” said Heidi Walsh Bernardi. “Because chili is good cold (if the power goes out).”

‘Reminds me of home’

Some commented they felt the need to eat carbohydrates like rolls, biscuits, toast or french fries to feel “cosy,” and others praised the comforting heat of stew.

“Growing up my mom made hamburger gravy on mashed potato with corn or mushy peas on the side,” said Lori Jaworski.

“Comfort food for me is homemade chicken soup with a PB&J sandwich. Reminds me of home,” commented Lana Mill.

French toast, bread pudding, chocolate chip cookies, macaroni and cheese, pizza, Acadian fricot, and lasagna also made the list.

“Kraft Dinner, original style. With ground beef in it. Shades of student housing in the ’70s when it cost 17 cents on sale,” said Daphne Dumont.

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‘Feel-good food’

What people mentioned over and over was that the food must be homemade.

That’s why the meal-preparation and delivery service Comfort Food To Go By Janet has grown.

Janet Ford started the Charlottetown company five years ago after retiring from a corporate job. She’d always loved cooking and was the friend who “fed everyone,” she said.

“I started my business to feed seniors, and seniors love comfort food — meat and potatoes and vegetables,” she said. Since then, many busy families have signed up too, and her business has grown 20 per cent each year. She cooks about 120 individual meals per week.

In winter, many people want hot, hearty dishes — her most-requested recipes are spareribs, roast chicken, lasagna, pasta, fish cakes and homemade baked beans, and fresh fish. Stews and soups are also popular.

“Comfort food brings people back to their childhood or their grandparents,” Ford said as she carved up a giant bone-in ham to serve with scalloped potatoes and steamed vegetables.

‘We all crave that in winter’

She serves more salads and lean protein in summers, and sometimes even barbecued foods — but winter is her busy season.

“It’s feel-good food, it fills you up — it’s hearty and nutritious,” Ford said. “I feel we all crave that in the winter.”

Ford cooks meals in the inspected kitchen at St. Mark’s church. Customers pick them up or have them delivered to their doors. She also caters.

The individual portions cost between $9 and $13, and some people find that’s enough for two meals, she said.

Her most-requested recipe this time of year is spareribs, and she agreed to share it.

Comfort Food to go by Janet’s Spareribs

– 4 pounds baby back ribs

– 1 ½ cup ketchup

– ½ cup barbecue sauce

– ½ cur brown sugar

– 1¼ tablespoons lemon juice

– 1 tsp. worchestershire sauce

– a dash of hot sauce

– 1½ tablespoons steak sauce (like A1)

– 1 clove garlic

Cover ribs with water in a pot and boil gently with a bay leaf, salt and pepper, for one hour. Drain.
Cook sauce over medium heat about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour sauce over ribs in baking dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking another 30 minutes.

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