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Photo Credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel for A Sunny Afternoon

“Anyone who thinks they’re too grown up or too sophisticated to eat caramel corn, is not invited to my house for dinner.”- Ruth Reichl

What is your comfort food? Eggs are my go-to, in all forms. If it weren’t for the wisdom of “everything in moderation,” I might plow through a dozen each week. Simple food has the twofold ability to settle our minds and nourish our bodies. We practice self-care by making familiar meals, not only because the flavors themselves are reassuring, but also because the preparation is rote, intuitive, and soothing.

After particularly long days, I move instinctively toward the stove. My mind turns off and muscle memory takes over. Heat pan. Crack two eggs, splash in milk. Slice peppers and sticky bulbs of garlic. Add to pan, sizzle. Push the pillows of egg back and forth. Spoon in soft cheese. Crack pepper on top. And with one plate of scrambled eggs, the long day dissipates.

An innate pleasure exists in cooking simple food for ourselves. When the house fills with guests, though, we often push basic dishes aside for more elaborate meals. Of course, there’s an occasion for everything. People appreciate dressing up for a good soirée, and extravagance has its place. But there’s something uniquely hospitable about serving comforting food to guests. Once in a while, homey meals and come-as-you-are dress codes should make an appearance at our dinner tables.

Here’s a tip for entertaining with comfort food: serve the food you make for yourself after a hard day. Think low maintenance meals with few ingredients, fewer steps, and warm, flavorful results. Make omelets for dinner – they’re endlessly variable and filling. Or throw together a grilled cheese bar so friends can add jam, veggies, and tapenades to the basic sandwich. Easier still, create a toast bar. Offer sliced loaves of challah, sourdough, and whole-grain bread to be toasted and topped with sliced fruit, peanut butter, avocado, or hummus.

If a certain meal is comforting to you, it’s likely your guests will appreciate it too, especially in the company of friends. Serving comfort food means sharing an intimate and natural part of your home – one of the best things a hostess can do.

To read more from Annie, please visit: www.apieceoftoastblog.com

2 comments

  1. I’d love to see more meal suggestions! Other than a toast bar, what other ‘comfort foods’ do you entertain with? (recipes also greatly appreciated!)

  2. I love this. We’ve found that our guests always love the least pretentious, “thrown-together” meals the most. It’s the company that really matters!

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