Comfort food therapy for the winter-ravaged soul, courtesy of Food Network


Winter blues? Comfort food may be the antidote

Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay

Welcome to the dead of winter, a time when the full forces of cabin fever are bearing down on your psyche and rendering you a semi-catatonic, forlorn mess.

What to do? Going someplace warm always helps, provided your schedule and funds allow. You can always take up an outdoor sport like skiing or skating but there’s no guarantee you won’t break something. And let’s not get started with drinking your way out of it – fighting the blues with a depressant just makes no sense.

Yes, getting out of this funk won’t be easy but there may be an answer in comfort food therapy. Toward that end, a block of programming coming up Sunday, Feb. 23, on Food Network gives you a few ideas to help dispatch this annual cold weather interloper.

It starts bright and early with “Brunch at Bobby’s,” in which chef Bobby Flay serves up a breakfast of churro French toast, cinnamon bun pancakes and bacon-cheddar twists with soft-cooked eggs. Sweet and substantial.

A little later on “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” host Valerie Bertinelli puts a Latin spin on comfort food, preparing a Cubano salad, Cuban sandwiches and a spicy black bean soup, all washed down with grapefruit mojitos. And for dessert, it’s a tropical sundae.

Ree Drummond has her own take on comfort food on “Pioneer Woman” in mid-morning, as she rolls out a spread that includes a tuna noodle casserole, meatballs in sweet and sour sauce, glazed apple dumplings and Welsh rarebit. Yum.

In late morning, Molly Yeh makes her most-prized Midwestern comfort foods with a twist on “Girl Meets Farm,” a menu that consists of knoephla soup (a traditional German dish consisting of boullion, potatoes and milk) with chewy dumplings, sticky ribs and a side of sweet, tangy broccoli slaw with plump currants and a dessert of red velvet snow balls with cream cheese filling.

At midday on “Delicious Miss Brown,” host Kardea Brown cooks up comfort food Carolina style, with a dinner of beef and okra stew with sweet potatoes topped with roasted marshmallows. And for dessert, she offers up caramel apple cake and warm spiced apple cider. Warmth for body and soul.

And a veritable cornucopia of comfort food is on tap in an episode of “The Kitchen” titled “Award-Winning Comfort Food,” which features Sunny Anderson’s “crazy rich” fried chicken and waffle skewers, Katie Lee’s creamy pimento cheese fondue, Jeff Mauro’s gourmet mac and cheese, and Geoffrey Zakarian’s loaded bacon truffle and chive baked potatoes.

Of course, if those aren’t enough ideas, you can always go online to Food Network (www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/packages/comfort-foods/easy-comfort-food-recipes/easy-comfort-food-recipes) to access its library of more than 100 comfort food recipes.


George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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