When we’re feeling down for whatever reason, one of the things that can help lift our spirits is a comforting meal. It’s why comfort foods resonate so much with us, and why they’re often the feature at restaurants and grocery stores all over the world.
Exactly which foods do we find the most comforting? While it definitely differs for each person, it turns out that there’s quite a few foods we all share in common.
Meal delivery company HelloFresh did a survey on what foods affect our moods in what way. In part of that poll, they asked people to select what foods they felt would instantly improve their moods. Below are the top choices those respondents gave, giving a list that may strongly signify what comfort foods are common ground.
It’s not hard to see why all of these ranked so highly, as each food item is highly craved or coveted.
Scientifically, that craving could be leading to what elevates our moods. Research has shown that the more we want a food, the more dopamine our brain can produce when we actually consume it. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that influences our feelings of pleasure, reward, and motivation, so the more we can produce, the happier we could feel.
Ergo, the more coveted a food is to you, the more you’ll feel better when you eat it.
Baltimore’s Ekiben Restaurant is known for creative and interesting takes on Asian food. Recently, they’re also becoming known for an amazing deed of kindness they performed: Serving a dying customer their favorite dish.
The customer lived in Vermont, and was the mother of a Baltimore local and would often come visit. According to the Baltimore Sun, the family would regularly eat at Ekiben, with the tempura broccoli becoming one of the mother’s favorite dishes.
Sadly, the mother had fallen ill with lung cancer, and although she had jokingly said she would want to eat the broccoli on her deathbed, the family wondered if they could make the dish for her one last time.
They initially planned to try to make it on their own and get tips from Ekiben’s owners, Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe. However, after the family contacted them for some advice, Chu and Abebe decided to drive up to Vermont and make it themselves.
It took six hours to get there, plus a few more hours to heat up the fryer in the freezing snow, but the owners were able to make the tempura broccoli and some tofu bowls outside of the customer’s house and safely deliver the meals inside.
For the mother, who enjoyed the meal thoroughly, it was a surreal and happy experience, one she was happy to enjoy. As for the owners, they told the Sun that they were just glad to make her happy.
With the American West having its worst wildfire season in at least 70 years, Coors Banquet increased its annual support to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation with a $300,000 donation and the release of a branded T-shirt to help support the cause.
The donation, which builds on a seven-year relationship with the foundation, will go toward providing assistance to firefighters and their families during a wildfire season that has burned some 7.5 million acres, killed at least 35 people, destroyed hundreds of structures and caused extreme air pollution.
Coors Banquet also has created limited-edition Protect Our West T-shirts, which are available here for $21.99. All proceeds will be included in the brand’s donation.
Since 2013, Coors Banquet has donated $1.5 million to the nonprofit, which provides financial and educational support to injured or fallen wildland firefighters and their families. In the last 20 years, 13 states have recorded the worst wildfires in their history, and the threat of widespread wildfires is on the rise.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen wildfires become more devastating almost every year, and Coors Banquet will continue to look for ways to amplify our partnership with the Wildland Firefighters Foundation,” says Heidi Gilbertson, marketing manager for the brand. “That’s why this year, we’re increasing our donation and giving consumers a way to show their support, too, with a T-shirt where proceeds go toward this cause.”
The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 100,000 dining spots have closed nationwide, with a harsh winter leading many to expect that number to only go up over time.
That being said, group efforts have come about to help get restaurants in some areas the support they need. Of course, stimulus funding and federal/state aid is the optimal solution, but for those that choose to stay open, getting the word out is crucial to making enough money to keep selling food.
In Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, one can attribute a movement called “SGV Eats” as one of the primary reasons the restaurant industry is able to keep going. Originally a group created by friends Alan An, Megan Lam, and Brian Ngoy, their movement has now exploded into over 32,000 people on Facebook, spreading the word on restaurants all over the region.
“When we saw that restaurants were struggling during the pandemic, it ignited something in us to help out,” An told Foodbeast. He, Lam, and Ngoy together started the original group, called “SGV Restaurants Open During COVID-19” at first, as a way to bring light to those restaurants looking to get help.
Lam told Foodbeast that the group started as just the three of them telling their friends, which led to a cascading influx of invitations that saw the group grow to the size it is now. All of the members are locals and restaurateurs who promote and provide support to eateries beyond just their own or their favorites. It’s what Ngoy described as a “phenomenal response” that helped elevate the entire restaurant scene and keep it afloat.
Thanks to their efforts, restaurants who were maybe seeing a few orders a day would sell out close to opening, helping keep many restaurant owners going through the pandemic.
It’s also allowed the innovative food scene in the San Gabriel Valley to flourish. For those not in the know, San Gabriel Valley is an incredibly diverse community: over 44% of the population is Latino and a quarter of residents are of some sort of Asian descent, according to data from the Los Angeles Times.
The SGV is known as a hub for many Asian restaurants, but An, Lam, and Ngoy also surprised even themselves by discovering a large, diverse set of unique restaurants through all of the owners and customers that shared photos and stories of the food. From Filipino food in West Covina to the storied seafood banquet restaurants of San Gabriel, there’s a lot of history and flavor from many parts of the world that reside in the SGV.
You’ll also find a lot of unique restaurants offering creative takes on dishes, often inspired by the meshing of cultures that happens in this region. Mexican and Asian-inspired pizzas, birria loaded burgers, and even Sichuan peppercorn-infused queso are just some examples of the unique dishes the region has to offer.
The team behind SGV Eats is making sure that these restaurants continue to get support for the unique creations they’re making. Outside of the regular daily support the group offers, SGV Eats is also launching a dining event that will spread across the entire valley. Called Eat SGV Week, it features nearly two dozen restaurants that are a part of the group, all of which are providing unique specials and offers to encourage people to order food.
Viral pizza spot Rose City Pizza, for example, is creating a Korean Popcorn Chicken pizza, a spin-off of one of their more recent mouthwatering menu creations. Other options from headliners include a combo meat plate from 38 Degrees Alehouse, a combo pack of obanyaki (stuffed Japanese pancakes) and ube horchata from Mr. Obanyaki, and a meal platter from Hummus Labs, arguably one of the most popular restaurants in the SGV to date.
The Eat SGV Week runs from December 7th to 13th, although you can preorder for pickup on any of those days already on their website.
Going from support group to organizing a dining event that brings together multiple restaurants feels like a large leap. For the SGV Eats team, though, it was just another way to bring assistance and unite the local dining community to help keep it thriving.
Beyond just the Eat SGV week, SGV Eats hopes to find more ways to encourage the community and get folks to discover and explore more local restaurants.
As a bullhorn for one of the more innovative dining regions in the country, they’re definitely a group anybody should join, follow, and be a part of to learn about some of the most creative culinary eats the San Gabriel Valley has to offer.
Last week, Foodbeast teamed up with Foot Locker LA and HiFi Kitchen, a local Filipino restaurant to announce a delivery of 500 meals to the Los Angeles Surge Hospital over the span of two weeks.
The hospital, which sprang up in the formerly closed St. Vincent Medical Center, has become one of Los Angeles’ treatment epicenters, as it remains a 100% COVID-19 facility.
The meals look to alleviate the ever busy essential staff, whose shifts have left them with little time to eat any substantial meal, according to sources on the ground at the hospital. Options looked to account for any dietary restrictions as well, with workers choosin from Chicken Adobo, pescatarian La’Ing, or vegetarian La’Ing rice bowls.
In addition, Melissa’s Produce will be donating fresh produce to the hospital’s staff weekly for the next eight weeks, so as to make eating healthy ever convenient.
Austin, TX-based distillery Garrison Brothers contributed to the cause as well, donating 200 6oz bottles of their housemade hand sanitizer, which has become one of the city’s rarest commodities.
“Just to be able to give back in some way and show our appreciation for these literal heroes putting their well-being on the line to care for the health of others is special. Let’s all go show love to medical, essential, and front line workers, and give them their roses while they can smell them.” said Reach Guinto, Foodbeast managing editor, who helped deliver the first batch of 250 meals last Friday.
The next round of meals will be delivered Friday, May 8. Stay tuned to Foodbeast for updates, as well as any news regarding food related pandemic relief.
That’s the name of a contemporary, canned-water brand willing to help the thousands of bartenders without work currently. The name is silly, their new mission is not.
With every social post with the hashtag #BelchForBars and tagging @LiquidDeath on Facebook or Instagram, the brand will be donating $20 to the United States Bartender’s Guild. There’s up to $250,000 on the line for our bartenders, barbacks and hospitality staff affected by the new normal.
I know you’re just sitting at home, so… kick back a toast of sparkling water, or anything else that shoves air down your gullet, and do it already.
Known for their “Crazy Good Food,” Checkers & Rally’s have shifted their focus towards crazy good hospitality.
Now, at all 250 locations nationwide, first responders and medical workers can get a free small combo at the fast food chain, solely by showing up in their uniform.
Each combo includes a small order of fries, a small drink, and a choice of one of the following entrees: Big Buford (which may be the best name out there for a fast food item), Cheese Champ, Chili Dog, BBQ Bacon Roadhouse, Half-Pound Chicken Bites, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Baconzilla, 5-piece Wings, or a Deep Sea Double.
The restaurant’s employees will also benefit from the policy, as they’ve been deemed “essential workers,” and will get a free small meal for every shift they work.
This is in addition to the $100,000 they donated to No Kid Hungry that’s estimated to provide a million meals to children, and certainly shows a commitment to helping the communities that surround each location, which is rare for such a large chain.
This is my promise! My mom and dad, and uncle, and godmother were nurses, doctors, pharmacist! When I reopen my restaurants, I hope I will, every active Doctor and Nurse will eat for free for the rest of the year! Thankful #HeroesOfCovid19@thinkfoodgrouphttps://t.co/HU1oHrbD5y
Chef Jose Andres is no stranger to philanthropic efforts centered around his love for food and community through his charity World Central Kitchen, as evidenced by the massive contributions he’s made during this COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it be turning the Washington Nationals’ baseball stadium into a community kitchen to feed thousands or jumping on board the quarantined Grand Princess cruise ship to feed its guests and crew, Andres has been an active force of good that’s become a regular highlight during the coronavirus news cycle.
In his on-going efforts of doing good through food, Andres has promised in a recent tweet that doctors and nurses will eat for free at his restaurants for the rest of the year.
My mom and dad, and uncle, and godmother were nurses, doctors, pharmacist! When I reopen my restaurants, I hope I will, every active Doctor and Nurse will eat for free for the rest of the year!
We’re all just as grateful for the work that medical workers and other frontline staff have been putting in during this turbulent pandemic, and for Andres to show his gratitude in such a way is to be commended — especially since most of his restaurants are high-ticket, fine dining, one-of-a-kind gastronomic experiences.
This gesture is but another in a long line of positivity and service that the lauded celebrity chef has displayed in his career, and we’re sure that Jose Andres’ generosity will continue on.