The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174

The X-RAY

The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174

The X-RAY

The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174

The X-RAY

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Comfort Foods Around the World: because having a few is never enough

Comfort foods have been around worldwide for as long as half a century. The term was first coined to describe the foods one retracts back to as the security of childhood.

St. Charles East High School has students from diverse backgrounds, and as the saying goes, “The more we share, the more we have.” It only makes sense if the comfort foods from all around the world are shared with Saints.

Joseph Carnana recommends old-fashioned Mexican tamales, which are ground corn, wrapped with corn husk or banana leaves. “[The filling could be] chicken, pork, cheese and some are sweet. It’s Hispanic culture…my family just heads over to La Huerta…I usually eat them plain… but [you] can put in some salsa,” Carnana said.

Budae Jjigae, or “Korean Army Stew.” Photo courtesy of Flickr

Another Saint, Kenneth Chang, recommends budae jjigae, a shared South Korean dish that originated during the Korean War (1950-1953). He stated, “It’s nicknamed ‘Korean Army Stew’ in English due to its ingredient-like properties and features, including mushrooms, sausage, tofu, kimchi, etc. [It] originated from the Korean War when U.S. soldiers decided to collaborate with the Koreans in making a diverse jjigae (stew) soup that would combine both aspects of Korean and American culture and cuisine.” Chang suggested visiting maanchi.com for the recipe.

Kayla Cooley mentioned carne en su jugo. She described it as either a comfort food or a dish for special events. “[The] traditional Mexican beef soup… originated in Guadalajara, Mexico. [It] has bacon, beans, garlic, onion, beef, etc. When we make carne en su jugo, we eat it with limes, radishes, extra bacon, and thinly sliced cabbage as toppings,” said Cooley. Cooley suggested finding the recipe on allrecipes.com.

Saul Correa recommended another Mexican comfort food called sope: “[It] has similar features to a taco but uses fried dough instead of a tortilla.” For toppings, Correa said that one can add shredded beef or pork instead of chicken in the recipe found on delish.com.

Gi Gonzales suggested mici. The sausage dish is very popular in Romania and as Gonzales said, “It pairs fantastically with slennia, another Romanian food; mustard, caramelized onions, and mamalegia. Mayonnaise also works well.”
An anonymous student suggested carne asada tacos with lime, a Mexican dish. “It can be eaten with lime and grilled cebolla too,” the student said.

Zainab Khan recommends the dish haleem, a Middle-Eastern comfort food. is a “stew made with oats, meat and lentils.” The dish originating from the Middle East is now predominantly made in Hyderabad, India and all over Pakistan, where it gained its own twist with the spices. “We usually only eat it during Ramadan or Eid. It’s made with a lot of spices and usually eaten with fried onions, jalapeños, limes and cilantro…everyone makes it differently,” Khan stated, “It’s the perfect combo of spicy and sour.”

Brianna Padilla suggested a Puerto Rican dish, pernil, which is slow-cooked and baked pork shoulder shredded with pulled pork texture but with a crust on the top. The staple Puerto Rican dish is versatile and the version closest to her family recipe can be found on themom100.com. “We normally make chicken or turkey… by making it in the slow cooker, we get more of a pulled pork texture—which is also the reason why we don’t need the lemon or orange,” said Padilla.

Arjun Patel mentioned daal bhaat shaak rotli as his comfort food. The typical Indian food originating in Gujarat counts as a meal: bhaat is rice, daal is lentil soup, shaak is cooked and seasoned vegetable and rotli is flatbread. Patel mentioned that he likes to eat the dish with “Athanu (pickled vegetable) and papad (lentil cracker/chip).”

Volodymyr Pauchok brought a Ukrainian dish, borscht, to our attention: a sour soup made with meat stock, vegetables, seasonings and beetroots. As Pauchok said, “[It can be made with] cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes and tomatoes and depending on the recipe, it may include meat or fish or be purely vegetarian.” The dish can be served hot or cold as a clear broth or a smooth drink. Commonly served with sour cream, hard-boiled eggs and potatoes, the dish is truly versatile.

Ava Polites suggested pumpkin chili. She said “It’s your simple American-style chili [and her mom adds] pumpkin puree in it,” she stated.

Emma Rodriguez recommended flan. This dish is considered to be a part of many Latin American, Puerto Rican and Guatemalan cultures. Flan is a dessert made with an indulged custard base topped with caramel.

Yzzabella Ruiz-Alvez recommended a Filipino dish, mango float. It is made with layers of graham crackers, whipped cream, condensed milk and ripe carabao mangoes.

Charlotte Schumaier’s comfort food is apple butter. “It’s a bit like apple sauce, but more smooth and you can eat it warm. [It has] cinnamon and spices and tastes really good with crackers, cookies, or bread both warm and cold. You can also warm it and add some whipped cream to eat it like a dessert,” Schumaier said.

Samahi Shah said another Indian dessert, gajar hawa, is her comfort food. “Often enjoyed during festivals, it is made by cooking grated carrots in milk, ghee and sugar until the mixture thickens and turns a rich golden color.” It is typically garnished with nuts like almonds and pistachios and flavored with cardamom or saffron.

Gajar Halwa, an Indian dessert. Photo courtesy of Flickr. (Sonia Goyal)

Rebecca Strait mentioned latkes as her comfort food. “Latkes are a Jewish holiday food…[they ] are potato pancakes.” Strait said, “Always make sure to serve with applesauce and sour cream.”

Steven Taft enjoys hot-cocoa cookies, a holiday dessert, as his comfort food. . “We first made it in Michigan where I lived…there are websites online with the recipe [where] you can add anything to the recipe such as more marshmallows or chocolate,” said Taft.

For Emily Terpestra, comfort food means eating picadillo de vainica, a Costa Rican dish. The recipe can be found on puravidamoms.com, and she stated “[her] mom adds prego sauce, uses less carrots and fresh thyme.”

Fatima Tiea’s comfort food is baba ganoush, a Lebanese eggplant dip significantly popular in Sudan. Tiea adds her own twist to it by adding red chili powder and suggests using cookieandkate.com’s baba ganoush recipe for more.

Lucy Wilfong recommends a Filipino dish, longganisa, a short pork sausage that is, “really sweet and flavourful.” Wilfong likes to eat it with rice and vegetables and suggests the recipe from kawalingpinoy.com. “I’m a vegetarian but I would make an exception for [longganisa] because it is so good,” she said.|

Through all the anecdotes about everyone’s comfort food, maybe it is time to go into the kitchen and try some of these during the Holidays.

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About the Contributor
Nishi Patel, Managing Editor
Nishi is a senior at East and dreams of studying neuroscience/psychiatry. She loves to write and recently published her second book "breaths underneath."

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