Comfort food is one of those rare culinary categories that’s purely emotional. Generally rooted in childhood nostalgia, this class of cuisine is the equivalent of a childhood security blanket. Traditional American comfort foods — biscuits and gravy, macaroni and cheese, casseroles — tend to be hot and calorie-dense. They rely on staples such as flour, milk, and cheese, and they don’t get too wild with seasonings. Other cultures follow their own set of rules when it comes to ingredients, but the finished products rarely stray from the tried and true themes of rich, savory, and rustic .
There’s no getting away from the deep and abiding love people have for some fatty, fatty food. In order to get an even better handle on food that’s part sustenance, part time machine, and part trigger for a feel-good chemical dump in the brain, we asked some of the country’s most esteemed culinary experts what they wolf down when they’re looking for a little love on a plate. Not only did we get some insight into the enduring appeal of comfort classics, we got some great restaurant recommendations.