Cheese on toast? Mashed potatoes? Deep fried anything? Comfort food is the trend that just won’t go away. But is our love of the stuff getting stronger, now the economic indicators are the worst in generations? Couldn’t we all use a bowl of comfort food right now? That’s the question I pose at the beginning of a new Food Programme for broadcast on Radio 4 later this year. And I started my search for an answer at SpagWednesday, the pop-up pasta night run by Daniel Young.
For me, comfort food needs to slather on the fat – for for a bowl of spaghetti to be truly comforting, it needs a creamy sauce. But I kept quiet in case I offended anyone. I didn’t want to get involved in the politics of pasta even though I’ve always felt very strongly that just because Italians don’t serve a cappuccino after 10am, or a salad with a pizza, doesn’t mean that we have to do the same. I was just a little reluctant to say as much in front of Giorgio Locatelli, who was Young’s chef-in-residence.
I didn’t cut my spaghetti. Or use a spoon. It would have been an insult to Giorgio. That’s because he had chosen the type of pasta to suit the sauce. But I’ve seen him working countless times, and he doesn’t get that sort of thing wrong. It was a meal that was both comforting AND exciting. Like all of Young’s themed nights. Food you really want to eat, cooked by chefs you really want to experience, at prices you really don’t mind paying. If only it was available out on the street……
Photo by Paul Winch-Furness