Just like putting on an old sweater or pressing Play to watch a favorite movie, a good meal has the power to comfort us. When that meal has all the familiarity of home, family, and love, the comfort can be next-level powerful.
Welcome to Tasty Total Comfort
, a book stuffed to the brim with 75 timeless and super-satisfying recipes—everything from hearty breakfasts, satisfying lunches, cozy dinners, exciting sides, classic desserts, and refreshing drinks that will quickly become your go-to, gotta-have, how-did-I-live-without, I-could-do-this-in-my-sleep recipes.
Just like every culture has unique, quirky, and maybe slightly embarrassing traditions, these recipes reflect everything that makes American comfort food so special. The United States is unique in its blend of broad ideas, perspectives, cultures, origins, and experiences. Our food can’t help but reflect that blending because what we consider American cuisine is, at its foundation, a crossroads of immigration. Traditional dishes from across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America, intermingled with those of our own indigenous populations to create the backbone of the American diet. Over time, those cuisines morphed into something slightly different, special, and uniquely American. But it all came from somewhere, and the story behind that journey is what makes it valuable.
But, hey, cooking is fun and so is this book! While we respect traditions, we also fully believe that modern perspectives and creative twists are always welcome. The recipes in this book build on flavors and techniques you already know and love, but they add something new to the conversation. Dishes like Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Tostadas (page 44), Fried Chicken Adobo (page 63), SpaghettiOhs alla Vodka (page 76), Eggplant Parm Casserole (page 84), Aloo Gobi Soup (page 97), or Senegalese Sombi pudding cups (page 139) present home-cooked favorites in a whole new light. Pigs in a Blanket Pull-Apart Bread (page 132) brings the classic snack to new heights (literally), while Jamaican Jerk Pulled-Pork Sandwich (page 89) marries all the complex flavors of jerk with the portable convenience of a bun. Gravy-Stuffed Cheddar Biscuit Bombs (page 31) is the biscuits-and-gravy upgrade you didn’t know you needed, and Chocolate Halva Truffles (page 161) make the classic dessert dangerously easy to keep eating.
Of course, we also include the familiar comfort staples of American food, streamlined with the modern home cook in mind. Favorites like Matzo Ball Soup (page 55), Shrimp Pad Thai (page 105), Ghanaian Jollof Rice (page 125), Sheet Pan Strawberry French Toast (page 36), Loco Moco (page 43), Chicken Fried Steak & Gravy (page 60), Eid Cookies (page 157), Haitian Macaroni au Gratin (page 67), Ginger Congee with Eggs & Scallion Oil (page 47), and Tater Tot Hotdish (page 94) are all here and ready for you to make them right now! We also grabbed some lesser-known favorites like Egyptian Pumpkin Pie (page 153), a perfectly spiced (and crustless!) pie that deserves a prime spot on every Thanksgiving table, or Korean Hot Dogs (page 59), a wildly creative riff on American corn dogs. Grape Jelly Meatballs (page 93) are far more delicious than they sound (just trust us on this one), and Agua Fresca with Chia (page 180) is undoubtedly the most satisfying thing you’ll drink all year.
We hope the food in this book will bring that nostalgic feeling of cozy satisfaction. In times of need or celebration, whether you’re gathered with family or friends or are dining solo, we hope these dishes fill your home with all the warm smells and cheerful sounds of classic home cooking. But most of all, we hope you’ll find yourself reaching for these recipes again and again—until they become your own version of total comfort.
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