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When It Comes To Comfort, The Carbs Have It


For food writer Nancy Leson, “comfort food” means Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. This Philadelphia-based regional candy is made of peanuts suspended in molasses covered in dark chocolate.

For me, that’s not an appealing description, and the proud declaration on the package that they “originally served as a WWI ration bar” doesn’t help. But for Nancy, they mean something different.

“It reminds me of Golden Slipper Camp,” says Leson, a Philly native. “These were the treats that were frequently given to us. And because it was such a wonderful experience for me over the years, going to Golden Slipper, I always associate this chocolate candy with the happier parts of my childhood.”

And that’s the thing about comfort food: It’s less about tasting good than it is about the feelings it evokes (which are helped along by the general narcotic effect of dropping a carbo-bomb in your gut).

Why the interest in comfort foodstuffs? This week's Sound Effect: Comfort Zone. And no discussion about comfort can ignore Comfort Food. Check out the photo gallery for a (somewhat alarming) list of the Sound Effect team's comfort foods. What are yours? Tell us in the comments section here or on KPLU's Facebook page.

And here’s one outtake: We asked Dick Stein, Nancy’s usual “Food for Thought” interlocutor, for his nominee. You can see his shocking response above. But he also threw this one out: Chinese steamed minced pork with salty duck egg and fried scallion pancakes. Pressed for the backstory on it, Dick shared this tidbit: “I used to brine my own duck eggs which I got from one of my chimney sweeping customers. They had a chicken and duck farm.  They were also hoarders.” 

What’s your go-to comfort food? Leave it in the comment section below. 

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.