Food

This is the nation's most-loved comfort food

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Megan Murray
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Sometimes, when s**t hits the fan and we don’t feel like adulting, there’s only one thing left to do – retreat, recoup and repair ourselves with homely comforts, like food.

When times get tough you can find us pyjama-clad with a duvet in tow, curled up on the sofa and cradling a bowl of [insert personal comfort food here].

And that’s the wonderful thing about comfort food – it offers a special ray of pleasure and satisfaction when you’re utterly fed up. In fact, Wikipedia defines the term as a food that “provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone”. This sums up perfectly why this category of food is so well-loved; the personal nature of it. 

So, when a recent poll asked 2,000 adults in the UK what comfort food means to them, we were intrigued to see which meal had stolen the hearts of the nation. 

Clarence Court, a free-range egg company, carried out the survey and, according to Red Online, bacon sandwiches, fish and chips and roast dinners are among some of our favourite tasty pick-me-ups. 

But the ultimate winner? Pizza.

The list features a top 20 of deliciously carb-y, sugary foodstuffs and reads like a menu of your most indulgent takeaways and home-cooked meals (see the full countdown below).

The UKs top 20 comfort foods

20. Curry

19. Poached egg and avocado on toast

18. Egg mayonnaise sandwich

17. Toad in the hole

16. Ham, egg and chips

15. Jacket potato

14. Dippy eggs and soldiers

13. Beef stew and dumplings

12. Cottage pie

11. Macaroni and cheese

10. Scrambled egg on toast

9. Pasta dish

8. Bangers and mash

7. Beans on toast

6. Roast dinner

5. Burger and chips

4. Full English breakfast

3. Bacon sandwich

2. Fish and chips

1. Pizza

The survey also probed the comfort-eaters of Britain to confess the situations that have us turning to food to fill an emotional hole.

According to the poll, 80% of adults said that their favourite meals offer some solace when times get tough and another 44% said that stress was the particular cause for their eating habits – something which the NHS confirms can lead to people eating more than they usually would.

For some, nothing can beat a top-notch bacon butty 

Speaking to Metro on the findings, psychotherapist Christine Webber explained that when we’re feeling down, we still have the instinct to look for comfort in our home or parents.

Webber explained, “Simple meals which transport us back to childhood can really cheer us up, and help remind us of less complicated times.

“We are leading increasingly stressful lives, so it’s vital for us to access some comfort when we need it – and what better way to find it than by cooking and eating something simple.”

Although we all deserve a treat whenever we feel like one and should never feel guilty for tucking into food that makes us happy, the hit of sugar that comes from many of the foods in this list actually have the opposite effect when it comes to targeting stress. 

Foods with high sugar or refined carbohydrates cause a huge spike in our blood sugar, but unfortunately everything that goes up must come down – and soon we feel drained again.

In fact, according to Health magazine, if you’re experiencing symptoms of stress – which can include feeling irritable, anxious or overwhelmed – we should be turning to more nutritious food groups. 

Superfoods such as blueberries and dark chocolate still feel like a sweet treat, but because of the anti-oxidants they contain, our blood pressure can become lowered and circulation can improve, which helps to calm. 

If you’re stuck on a carb craving, a complex carb like oatmeal is less likely to destabilise you.

But whether that appeals as much as a bacon butty is entirely up to you…

Images: iStock

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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