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  • Herrine Ro: In these stressful

  • and uncertain times of quarantine,

  • people from all over the world

  • are seeking comfort in food.

  • Comfort food can fix any bad day.

  • It's typically high in sugar, fat, and/or salt.

  • And the beauty of comfort food is that it varies

  • from person to person.

  • It's rooted in where you're from

  • and who you grew up with.

  • We asked 20 people from different cultural backgrounds

  • to share what comfort food is to them.

  • I'll start with mine.

  • My favorite comfort food is kimchi jjigae,

  • or kimchi stew.

  • I'm Korean American,

  • and, growing, up my mom made kimchi jjigae

  • pretty often for dinner.

  • My mom's kimchi jjigae has that son-mat.

  • Son-mat in Korean means, like, hand taste.

  • The best way I can describe it is my mom's special touch.

  • Even if I try to make my mom's kimchi jjigae

  • here in New York City, I can't get that taste

  • because it lacks my mom's special touch.

  • So, basically, the flavors that you're getting

  • are, like, spicy, salty,

  • fatty, sour.

  • It's basically everything that I crave

  • when I'm missing my mom.

  • Tomi Obebe: I'm Nigerian, and one of my favorite

  • comfort foods has to be amala and okra soup.

  • To make it, you take some yam flour

  • and you pour it into boiling hot water,

  • stir it up very quickly,

  • and it gets to this nice thick consistency.

  • From there, you portion it out to whatever size

  • you'd like for your meal.

  • And then you can dip it into your soup of choice.

  • And not only is it a super-tasty meal,

  • but after you eat it, [snaps] it hits you,

  • and it puts you in one of those nice food comas.

  • I remember sneaking into the kitchen as a toddler

  • and trying to tear off small pieces of amala,

  • or, like, the eru seeds that they put in the soup

  • and taking it back to my playroom.

  • So, of course, now anytime that I have it,

  • I just automatically think of home.

  • Sarah Isoke: I'm Trinidadian,

  • and my favorite comfort food is bake and saltfish.

  • Bake and saltfish is a dish comprised of bake,

  • which is dough rolled out,

  • and a fish called bacalao.

  • It's a salted cod that we chop up, we boil,

  • and we sauté with sweet tomatoes and sweet onions.

  • I think it's my favorite comfort food just because

  • it brings back a memory of my grandmother.

  • She used to own a daycare, and whenever she was

  • making something with dough, like bake,

  • she would roll up little pieces of the dough

  • and give it to the children to play with.

  • And we would just

  • go crazy for those little pieces of dough.

  • Matthew Ferere: My favorite Haitian comfort food is griot.

  • Griot is fried pork shoulder that has a special cut

  • where it has just the right amount of fat

  • and just the right amount of skin on it.

  • You would season it well,

  • bake it briefly,

  • and then fry it.

  • So, after that, it'll get that nice

  • crispy on the outside, tender on the inside taste.

  • I can remember being a child,

  • you know, at every Haitian gathering, family party,

  • if you had griot on your plate that night,

  • you knew it was gonna be a good night.

  • Lisa Paradise: My comfort food has always been pastina,

  • which is like a really unhealthy version

  • of Italian wedding soup.

  • It has no vegetables.

  • It's really just pasta and meatballs.

  • So, the way that my mom makes her meatballs

  • is really what I always crave.

  • She does a mix of pork, of ground pork,

  • ground beef, and ground veal.

  • And then she adds in just five ingredients.

  • So, the five ingredients are salt, pepper,

  • garlic powder, parsley, and cheese.

  • It's not just, like, Parmesan cheese;

  • it's always pecorino Romano cheese.

  • That's, like, the go-to key ingredient.

  • Whenever I go home or whenever I'm, like,

  • sad or sick or whatever,

  • that's what I want my mom to make me,

  • or that's what I, like, want to eat.

  • Naja Newell: I'm from New York, and my favorite

  • comfort food is grilled cheese.

  • Growing up as picky eater,

  • grilled cheese was the No. 1 thing I could get

  • from every single family member

  • and every single restaurant

  • and it be almost the exact same every single time.

  • So, today when I make grilled cheese for myself,

  • I just use white or wheat bread,

  • and I'll use white American cheese.

  • It reminds me of being best friends with my mom.

  • Alyson Brown: I'm Alyson Brown, and today

  • we're gonna talk about beef patties,

  • because that's my favorite Jamaican comfort food.

  • Growing up, my father used to bring home,

  • like, a box of beef patties.

  • And he used to put them on the table

  • and it was first come, first serve,

  • and if you did not get your beef patty,

  • you would be tight.

  • I love beef patties because of how diverse they are.

  • You could get a beef patty, a callaloo patty,

  • a ackee patty, any type of patty.

  • My family is Jamaican.

  • The're from Jamaica.

  • I'm American, I was born here.

  • But when we go to Jamaica, it's over.

  • The patties are, like, hot and ready. They delicious.

  • Manuel Silva-Paulus: I'm from New York, I'm Dominican,

  • and my favorite comfort food is mangu.

  • Mangu is basically like mashed potatoes,

  • but instead of potatoes,

  • it's plantains.

  • And it's a breakfast food,

  • so most Dominicans will eat it in the morning.

  • Mangu is typically eaten with cebollas on top,

  • which is onions;

  • queso frito on the side,

  • which is fried cheese;

  • salami, which is a type of meant;

  • and usually, like, some people will get a fried egg on it.

  • Personally, I love eggs, so I always get them on it.

  • The reason why mangu is my favorite comfort food,

  • besides the fact that it's delicious,

  • is because it just reminds me of being

  • in the Dominican Republic and just, like,

  • being around great weather, sunny,

  • like, just an all-around great vibe.

  • Selena Singh: My comfort food is pepperpot.

  • It came from Guyana's first people,

  • known as the Amerindians.

  • Pepperpot is a meal that is boiled with cassareep

  • and spices and any choice of meat,

  • but my personal favorite is beef.

  • It can be eaten with anything;

  • bread, cassava bread, rice,

  • anything you would like.

  • Pepperpot reminds me of Christmastime

  • and all the family time

  • and a rich culture in Guyana.

  • Samantha Lee: My favorite comfort food is congee,

  • a type of rice porridge.

  • It's often eaten with yau ja gwai,

  • also known as a Chinese doughnut.

  • There are also many different types of congee.

  • I've had it plain, with dried scallops,

  • with preserved egg and salted pork,

  • and just whitefish.

  • Growing up, my mom would

  • make this for breakfast some days,

  • and she would also make it for me when I was sick

  • and I couldn't keep any solid foods down.

  • My mom passed away in January of 2018,

  • so the process of making congee and eating it

  • reminds me of her love, her dedication,

  • and her patience as my mother.

  • Isabella Paoletto: I'm Mexican American,

  • and my favorite comfort food is tamales.

  • Every year, my grandma and her sisters get together

  • and they all make tamales for us to eat on Christmas Eve,

  • so it really reminds me of home

  • and of Christmastime and of my family,

  • so it's really special.

  • My family makes the dish with shredded pork

  • in a red chili sauce with green olives.

  • Basically, right now only my grandma

  • and my aunts know how to make it,

  • but they've started to teach me and my mom

  • and my sisters how to do it, so that way,

  • we can pass it on to the next generation.

  • Harry Kersh: My favorite comfort food is Marmite on toast.

  • It just has this really rich, really savory,

  • and quite salty flavor.

  • And it's just really comforting,

  • especially when it's put on some thickly buttered toast.

  • I have very vivid memories of eating Marmite on toast,

  • particularly when I was feeling a bit sick.

  • I had an operation when I was 3 years old.

  • I went under general anesthetic.

  • When I woke up, the nurse said,

  • "Is there anything we can get you?"

  • And my first request was Marmite on toast.

  • Nisha Stickles: My favorite comfort food is kuay teaw,

  • or Thai noodle soup.

  • Thai noodle soup is the Thai equivalent

  • of what a deli sandwich is to New Yorkers.

  • And you can customize each kuay teaw order to be your own.

  • My go-to order is kuay teaw ped,

  • so duck noodle soup with sen mee,

  • which are the rice noodles that are thinner

  • than the ones you have in pho.

  • And I only will eat it in this one noodle shop,

  • and I refuse to have it elsewhere

  • because they just make it so special.

  • And it sucks because I can't really replicate

  • that experience in any Thai restaurant here

  • since they don't really specialize in that.

  • Jennifer Hernandez: My favorite comfort food

  • are Colombian arepas.

  • Arepas are cornmeal patties that are typically made

  • with salt, water, and masarepa.

  • This is my favorite comfort food

  • because when I was a kid, my dad and I

  • didn't have matching schedules at all.

  • So by the time he would get home, I was already sleeping,

  • and we wouldn't see each other till the weekend.

  • And at the weekends, our favorite

  • family-time activity was to make arepas.

  • It was also the first meal I learned how to make.

  • So, we're gathered in our tiny kitchen.

  • Mold them together, put it in the stove top,

  • and then once they were ready and hot,

  • my dad would put butter on top,

  • sprinkle it with a little bit of cheese,

  • and it was delicious.

  • And it's still one of my favorite meals.

  • Cory Villegas: My favorite comfort food is

  • Puerto Rican pasteles de yuca.

  • In Spanish, we call it amasa.

  • It's like a doughy kind of thing.

  • It has, like...

  • you can put stuff in it.

  • So, you can put, like, meat, chicken,

  • you can put vegetables.

  • I mean, they wrap it around a banana leaf,

  • and then they boil it.

  • And we make them in bulk.

  • I mean, it takes two to three days to make.

  • It's my favorite comfort food

  • because my aunts and my mom, they sit around,

  • we talk, and they're making this dish

  • that is so reminiscent of our Puerto Rican culture.

  • Caroline Aghajanian: My comfort food is lahmajun.

  • It's a thin flatbread, almost like pizza,

  • that's enjoyed in and around the Middle East.

  • It's typically made by taking small dough balls

  • and flattening them into really thin pieces,

  • and then it's topped with beef or lamb,

  • some vegetables, and spices,

  • and then it's cooked in the oven for just a few minutes.

  • My family and I typically buy a dozen or so of them

  • from Armenian bakeries or grocery stores here in LA

  • because they make them really tasty.

  • Arturo Valenzuela: My comfort food is aji de gallina.