Follow TV Tropes


Comfort Food

Go To
Sausages generally help.

"Oh, this is my favorite thing to eat as a boy. My gran used to make this for me whenever I was feeling a little sad. You know, if my cricket team lost or a girl I fancied turned up her nose at me."
Richard Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

A "Comfort Food" is a familiar food that a person eats because doing so relieves stress, sadness, and anxiety and increases contentment and comfort (hence the name). It sparks happy memories, brings back feelings of security and safety, and thus can easily lift a person's mood.

Comfort food for most people tends to also be their favorite food, or the food they enjoyed the most while growing up. In his book A Cook's Tour, Celebrity chef and television host Anthony Bourdain noted that, among big name chefs who specialize in fine cuisine at their restaurants, the most common type of answer to "If you were about to die and had time for one last meal, what would it be?" were meals like "my Grandmother's meat loaf" or "a nice hot ham-and-cheese sandwich" or "Oreos and a tall glass of ice cold milk". Other common answers were things like "a Big Mac," "mint chocolate chip ice cream," "an entire bag of Lay's Barbecue chips," and "a chili dog."

In other words, Comfort Food. Typically high in fat and calories and easy to eat, comfort food satisfies your nostalgic hankering, temporarily cures loneliness and lovesickness, and relaxes you. Whatever it is for you, the standard serving size is "X-Large".

This is Truth in Television. Big corporations know a cash cow when they see it, so there are entire restaurant chains devoted to serving you hearty portions of comfort food, like Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel, and Boston Market.

May overlap with Your Favorite, Trademark Favorite Food, Food as Bribe, Post-Stress Overeating, or Prisoner's Last Meal. Heartbreak and Ice Cream is a common Sub-Trope. See also I Need a Freaking Drink, Drunk on Milk, and Drowning My Sorrows. Calming Tea is when tea is specifically used to de-stress. See Soup Is Medicine for food that helps when you're ill. Contrast Too Unhappy to Be Hungry.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime & Manga 
  • In Afro Samurai, Afro's Trademark Favorite Food is lemonade, his first drink of it being the high point of his generally crappy childhood.
  • Urd and Skuld in Ah! My Goddess can recharge their powers via the Comfort Food of their choice; ice cream for Skuld and Sake for Urd. Belldandy loves sodas but avoids them because one sip can get her roaring drunk.
  • Kanade aka Angel in Angel Beats! goes for some Mapo Tofu (extremely spicy tofu dish) after being ousted from her position as Student Council President. But even that small pleasure ends up being inadvertently stolen from her by the SSS.
  • In Anpanman, Anpanman himself lives in a bakery. So, whenever his friends come running to him in need of help, they're normally in a panic, and Uncle Jam, Anpanman's father figure, always has fresh bread, tea, and cookies ready to help calm their nerves.
  • Sorta weaponized with Kirio Hikifune's food in Bleach. Not only she's a Supreme Chef who's VERY good at both Western and Eastern food, but she charges her meals with reiatsu to help her guests replenish their energies beyond any levels. Once Ichigo and Renji eat a massive meal prepared by her right after being healed by Tenjirou, their spirits are lifted off the ceiling and they're brimming with energy.
    • The concept itself is also discussed on page, as Ichigo wonders if it's okay to eat such delicious food after Soul Society has almost been destroyed, but Renji replies that this is exactly the reason why they should do it: they gotta replenish their physical and emotional energy before starting to fight again for everyone's sake. Hikifune overhears this, returns and agrees with the second.
  • Implied to be the reason why Koujiro Hyuuga of Captain Tsubasa loves Coca Cola and always drinks it despite it being bad for a sportsman like him. He used to be very poor as a child, now that he has a regular income and a good part of his goals are secured, he feels that he can allow himself that little pleasure.
  • In Claymore, Deneve' and her apples. Considering the life of a claymore is a never-ending Trauma Conga Line, completely understandable.
  • In Mitsuki Oosawa's manga of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Tiltyu tells Azel about this trope:
    Tiltyu: Well, I'm going to make soup for everyone in the base (And I also need your fire magic to ment the snow into water). In troubled times like these, I at least want them to eat something super delicious. (My cooking skills are nothing to scoff at, I'll let you know. In fact, I'm skilled at everything!)"
  • Food Wars!'s Megumi Tadokoro specializes in this kind of dish. Her cooking (for example, onigiri) has a relaxing quality that evokes childhood memories and the simple comforts of home, in contrast to her peers' Orgasmically Delicious creations.
    • Played for laughs in the "Karaage"-arc, when the inhabitants of the shopping district show up en masse to the newly reopened Yukihira to drown their money troubles in Soma's cooking. When Soma asks Yuuya how he can justify dining out when he has money problems, Yuuya asks for seconds.
  • In Fruits Basket, Tohru Honda tends to put her cooking skills to use cheering up her various friends (and given how many of them are The Woobie, she's often busy with that). One notable example is when she brings Rin, who is recovering in the hospital, some gelatine. Rin eats it at night, noting that it tastes good. One chapter also has Kyo cook a meal for Tohru, after she gets sick. Between the food and him listening to what upset her to the point of the cold, she quickly gets better.
  • Chapter 3 of Gohan no Otomo features a young Salary Man who is having a really bad day (his shoe broke, he gets a mountain of paperwork in his office while his computer refuses to work properly, the food ran out before he could have his lunch, and the part-timer girl he has a crush on is on leave). He starts craving for nametake (enoki mushrooms cooked in soy sauce) to make himself feel better, but is unable to find any in the convenience stores he visits. He ends up meeting Kuma, who offers to give him some nametake, and leads the young man (later nicknamed "Nametake") to his diner, where he not only gets the food he craves, but also a newfound group of friends.
  • Hamtaro: In the OVA Adventures in Ham Land, Hamtaro pigs out at a sunflower sushi restaurant when he suspects that Laura has been neglecting him.
  • In the dub of Hetalia: Axis Powers, America's explanation for why he eats so much junk food is because it numbs him to the many problems he has to deal with. When he tells China this, China's immediate reaction is to start eating a large amount of chocolate.
  • Miss Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles: Ramen is the only thing that can make Koizumi smile.
  • In a Naruto filler mini arc, Princess Fuku indulges into eating because she's too nervous in the wake of her Arranged Marriage. So much that she gains a lot of weight, and her Ninja Identical Stranger Ino Yamanaka is commisioned into becoming her Body Double. Then the soon-to-be husband, Prince Chikara, turns out to be a pudgy guy and a Chubby Chaser...
    • Shippuuden's 34th ending "Rainbow's Sky" implies that the reason Naruto loves ramen, and specifically Ichiraku's Ramen so much, is because it was the first and only place he was welcomed at when he was little.
  • One Pound Gospel: In Chapter 7 of Volume 2, Kosaku starts pigging out on ramen after Sister Angela tells him that she can't spend any more time with him until he stops liking her as more than a friend.
    Coach: I'm the one who should be crying, you idiot!!
  • Sort of used in Persona 4: The Animation when Aika offers the Rainy Day Special Mega Beef Bowl to Yu after Nanako's death. Yu is in such a depressed state that he actually eats it whole in less than 10 minutes — it's remarkable because this is a beef bowl that Yu and his friends have eaten before, and it's so... special that it's almost impossible to eat in less than 40 minutes.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Diamond offers a slice of cream pie to Platinum when she gets depressed in the wake of her super contest.
  • In the eighth Pokémon movie Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, Max earns Lucario's trust with chocolate. Lucario is later seen sharing some in the afterlife with his master, Sir Aaron.
  • Kaoru from Rurouni Kenshin indulges into this at the end of the Tanabata filler episode, after mistakenly believing that Kenshin wanted to marry her. Kenshin makes it up to her by bringing her flowers.
  • A variant of this happens twice in Sailor Moon. First is in R #69, probably the low point of Usagi and Mamoru's break-up (when she catches him with another girlnote ), Luna realizes it's getting seriously bad when Usagi raids the fridge in the middle of the night because of her depression. The other time was in SuperS #133 when Luna catches Artemis with a talking kitten who she surmises is a secret daughter, so the girls prepare some comfort food for Luna.note 
  • This is the one of the reasons why Chihiro breaks down crying during the riceball scene in Spirited Away; onigiri is Japanese soul food.
  • In Toriko, this is why the boss of the Gourmet Corp, Midora, eats so much; Having lost his mother-figure as a youth, he now eats to relieve himself of the sadness he feels with her passing. But, even the most Impossibly Delicious Food won't help. He admits near the end of the series that the dishes in his Full Course Meal are not ingredients, but Froese's acts of affection, insubstantial and impossible to replace.
  • Wakako Zake is the distilled essence of comfort food; Wakako makes everything she eats sound cozy and comforting. For the most part, however, the "comfort" aspect only applies to rough days at work and other everyday hassles.
  • X1999: Discussed. When Sorata manages to feed Kamui some of his excellent food after a particularly harsh Break the Cutie deal, Arashi congratulates him and says that if Kamui is still willing to eat after all the shit he went through, it means he hasn't completely lost the will to live. This also hints at Arashi's Orphan's Ordeal, which included her living in the streets with almost nothing to eat until the Ise Jingu priestesses took her in.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, Urara "Cure Lemonade" Kasugano uses curry rice to this effect since one of few memories Urara has of her Missing Mom was the first time she ate curry, and it was with the whole family together.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice: Katsudon, pork cutlet bowls, for Katsuki Yuri. It eventually morphs into a Trademark Favorite Food and a symbol of love between Victor and Yuri.

    Comic Books 
  • Puerto Rico Strong: In Breaking Bread, the protagonist has arepas as her comfort food. She gave them to a boy who disliked her at school in order to make amends. Later, she's shown eating an arepa while recovering from a car crash.
  • Robin (1993): When Stephanie Brown is reacting to her father's (reported) death and is irritated with herself to realize she's grieving she confides in Tim Drake that mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food for her as he buys her a plate of them. He responds that he thinks she's entitled to as much mashed potatoes as she wants given the circumstances.
  • Supergirl: In the Supergirl Special one-shot, Lois bakes a batch of cupcakes, thinking they will help Kara get over her depression. Apparently, Lois' mom was "a big fan of feeding depression".
    Lois Lane: "Seems like you might need a little...time. And I made cupcakes."
    Supergirl: "Really?"
    Lois Lane: "Sure, why not? I can do cupcakes. I can do lots of things, including cupcakes. My mom was a big fan of feeding depression."
  • Superman: In a few Post-1986 comics, Clark Kent mentions a fondness for his Mom's rhubarb pie.
  • In her solo series, X-23 is shown to enjoy spicy foods after having no choice but her nutritionist's bland offerings at the Facility.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Drabble, Ralph claims it's impossible to feel bad when you're eating pancakes.
  • Peanuts:
    • In a week of strips in 1968, Lucy selling something called "Goop" at her booth for five cents a bowl. Charlie Brown needs it after another failed attempt to introduce himself to the Little Red-Haired Girl, because, as he says, "a good way to forget a love affair is to eat a lot of goop!"
    • Lucy herself says "it's impossible to feel gloomy when you're sitting behind a marshmallow."
    • Snoopy once binged on dog food in hope of forgetting a failed romance.
  • In one Zits strip, Jeremy isn't feeling well, so his mother makes a heaping pile of food to carry up to his room.
    Walt/Dad: Calorie therapy?
    Connie/Mom: When in doubt, apply food to the wound.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast: After exchanging herself for her father to stay as the Beast's prisoner, Belle is comforted by Mrs. Potts giving her a cup of tea. Overlaps with Brits Love Tea since Mrs. Potts has a British accent.
  • Big Hero 6: After bailing Hiro and Tadashi out of jail, their aunt, Cass Hamada starts eating a doughnut, while lampshading it. She also encourages it in Hiro, trying to comfort or reward him with his favorite foods.
  • The titular character from The Grinch (2018), who deals with his depression and loneliness by binge-eating. Then he runs out of food.
    Grinch: I specifically bought enough food to last me until January. How much emotional eating have I been doing?
  • In Incredibles 2, Violet takes a gallon of ice cream and starts eating it after Tony stands her up on a date due to having gotten Laser-Guided Amnesia from Agent Dicker. Funnily, she's doing it while invisible (but wearing normal clothes).
  • Kung Fu Panda: Po often eats to comfort himself; after the climactic dumpling fight, Po has moved beyond that kind of emotional crutch.
  • The Princess and the Frog: We have the scene where Tiana prepares some gumbo for herself and Naveen.
  • In Ratatouille, the title dish proves to be a Comfort Food for Anton Ego, as evidenced by the Tears of Joy and happy memories of his mother when he ate Remy's slightly fancied-up version. The experience was enough to cause a complete change of heart.
  • Shrek 2: After learning the events of the previous movie have proven to be a Spanner in the Works for the arranged marraige of their children, Fairy Godmother tells King Harold that he's forced her to do something she really doesn't want to do... which turns out to be cheating on her diet at the local fast food joint.
  • After Peter B. Parker suffered a Trauma Conga Line in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, he spiraled into depression and fell out of shape after eating copious amounts of pizza.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The A-Team, Baracus can often be calmed down by coconut curry with toast points.
  • Fat Bastard from Austin Powers lampshades one negative aspect of overrelying on Comfort Food. (Keep in mind that his idea of Comfort Food includes human babies.)
    "Of course I'm not happy! Look at me, I'm a big fat slob. I've got bigger titties than you do. I've got more chins than a Chinese phonebook. I've not seen my willie in two years, which is long enough to declare it legally dead. [on the verge of tears] I can't stop eating. I eat because I'm unhappy, and I'm unhappy because I eat. It's a vicious cycle."
  • In Constantine (2005), after a jaunt into Hell for information, Constantine declares he needs to eat. It's unclear if this is to cope with the trauma or because he had used up a lot of calories in his psychic journey, but in the film it seems to be a little of both.
  • In Defending Your Life, one of the benefits of the way station between Earth and Heaven is the ability to eat as much comfort food as you want without gaining weight (we see one person order and eat 20 pies).
  • Distressed by the lack of attention that her husband gives her, Tamara in Dr. Giggles starts eating ice cream out of a bowl. Then the eponymous villain arrives and is appalled by her unhealthy eating habits, and kills her by pumping her stomach to the point of bleeding.
  • In Ed Wood, a suicidal Bela Lugosi piteously asks Ed's wife to fix him some goulash, which she does.
  • In Gotcha! (1985), after Jonathan manages to return to West Berlin after a rather traumatic trip to the East, the first thing he does is go to West Berlin's McDonald's and order "an American cheeseburger, some American fries, and a nice, thick, American milkshake."
  • Jurassic Park (1993): While waiting until the next day to search for Dr. Grant and the kids, Dr. Sattler finds Hammond eating ice cream and joins him.
    • Similarly, when Tim and Alex return to the main complex after a harrowing night in the wild, one of the first things they do is hit up the dessert buffet.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man, the first thing Tony Stark asks for when he gets back to the safety of American soil after being held hostage by the Ten Rings is an American cheeseburger, which he proceeds to sit down and eat during the press conference he immediately holds.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, after Wanda accidentally hits a building with a suicide bomber, Vision makes her paprikash to "lift her spirits". Though he admits that since he does not eat, he is no expert chef.
  • The Menu: Slowik promises Erin a cheeseburger that tastes "... like the first one you ever ate. The cheap one your parents were almost too poor to afford." However, Erin isn't asking for the burger because she wants to feel nostalgic about eating it, she wants Slowik to feel nostalgic about cooking it.
  • Word of God says that this is the reason why Hector Barbossa kept talking about apples in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
  • A fairly horrific version is the "Gluttony" victim in Se7en. Spaghetti, because it's usually full of fat and starch, is often a comfort food. In the film, it's a murder weapon.
  • Subverted in Signs. The Hess family decides to share a meal including all their favorite foods (spaghetti, bacon cheeseburger, ect.) when the aliens invade, but are too anxious and sullen to enjoy it.

  • In one of the Animorphs books, after Rachael involuntarily morphs into an elephant and falls through the second floor of her house, after a big hullabaloo she is resting in a hotel room, where she calls room service and orders a burger and fries with a slice of cherry pie a la mode and chocolate milkshake.
  • In the Cordwainer Smith short story "The Ballad of Lost C'mell" Lord Jestocost is extremely fond of eggs, he considers them a special treat.
  • In A Brother's Price, when Jerin's toddler sisters are inconsolable about his going away to get married, he comforts them by suggesting they bake a cake and make ice cream.
  • Chrysanthemum: After a disastrous first day of school where everyone laughs at her name, Chrysanthemum feels better after eating her favorite dinner, macaroni and cheese with ketchup. The second day isn't much easier, but she feels better again after her favorite dessert, chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.
  • The Kate Jacobs novel Comfort Food is pretty much all about this with liberal amount of Food Porn Just reading the first paragraph and you'll be craving some kind of cake.
    Gus Simpson adored birthday cake. Chocolate, coconut, lemon, strawberry, vanilla — she had a particular fondness for the classics. Even though she experimented with new flavors and frostings, drizzling with syrups and artfully arranging hibiscus petals, Gus more often took the retro route with piped-on flowers or a flash of candy sprinkles across the iced top. Because birthday cake was really about nostalgia, she knew about reaching in and using the senses to remember one perfect childhood moment.
  • Discworld has Rincewind, whose love of potatoes stems from when he was marooned on a desert island, he was safe and had food but the two things he lacked were female companionship and potatoes. Some wires got badly crossed in his head.
  • The Ear, the Eye and the Arm: The titular detective trio have a fondness for garlic soup in trying times. It marks them as being firmly on the low side of the class divide, compared to their prestigious clients, but it does fortify everyone after a trying rescue.
  • In Jane Austen's Emma, Mr Woodhouse orders a bowl of gruel whenever he's distressed, which is nearly all the time. His older daughter Isabella loves gruel as well and the comforting effect is the same for her.
  • In Gourmet Rhapsody (Une Gourmandise) by Muriel Barbery, a food critic on his deathbed reminisces about the most sublime meals and flavours he's experienced throughout his life. He ultimately chooses a cheap supermarket chouquette pastry for his final meal — a reminder of the simple pleasures of his childhood.
  • The Grace of Kings: The warlord-turned-Emperor Mata Zyndu has little interest in the comforts of his new position and doesn't eat his chefs' Snooty Haute Cuisine. Mira becomes his confidante by making him simple peasant fare from his homeland instead.
  • Harry Potter:
  • In The Hunger Games, Katniss's favorite food from the Capitol is lamb stew with dried plums. Soups and stews are common foods in Seam, so it probably reminded her of the home and family she desperately missed.
  • The Kingston Cycle: The Amaranthine Grand Duchess Aife personally bakes apple bread to comfort the widow of a murder victim.
  • In Inukami!, Youko's Trademark Favorite Food is chocolate cake. It turns out her crush gave her some when he was much younger; he doesn't remember it, but this act of kindness that happened when she was stuck on a mountain and surrounded by dogs, turned her into a yandere for him.
  • Deconstructed in Jelly Belly. Big Eater Ned struggles with his weight throughout the book, not helped by the conflicting food messages he receives from his family. His parents tell him he needs to lose weight, but Grandma Rose continues to make him fattening meals and sweets as she truly believes food equals love.
  • Maria from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! bakes sweets using a recipe from her mother, as it reminds her of the times from before she was discovered to have magic (which drove away her father and isolated her from her peers).
  • In Papelucho en la Clínica, Papelucho chomps on some watermelon few after being operated on by mistake and lampshades the trope as he thinks, "oh wow, an ill person who eats won't die." Bad thing, eating so soon after an appendix removal operation backfires TERRIBLY on him; he passes out few minutes afterwards and, when he wakes up, he's told that he almost died.
  • In one of the books in The Pendragon Adventure, Bobby appears in modern-day Stony Brook where his Muggle friends live, and they go to their local fast-food hangout for fries.
  • In A Planet Named Shayol On the Body Horror Penal Colony planet Shayol the Bull-Man B'dikkat offers to make Mercer some fried eggs before he sends him outside because his first day will be easier if he has food in his stomach.
  • Roys Bedoys: In "What's Your Talent, Roys Bedoys?", Roys eats a cupcake to cheer himself up when he feels talentless.
  • When Willoughby breaks Marianne's heart in Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Jennings tries to feed it away. It doesn't work, as Marianne indulges her sorrow to the point where she can hardly eat or sleep, but she does have success when she digs out an old bottle of wine that Elinor claims for her own treatment.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: While at the Anxious Clown, the waiter, hearing of Aunt Josephine's death, offers the Cheer-Up Cheeseburger to the Baudelaires, Mr. Poe, and Captain Sham/Count Olaf. Subverted in that it doesn't do much.
  • When Monkey Lost His Smile: Monkey eats bananas (unsurprisingly) to have energy to find his smile.
  • In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, half of Hannah's cure for sad children is blueberry cake. (The other half is a kitten.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the eighth season of American Idol the top seven are asked what their favorite comfort foods are; Lil likes chocolate chip cookies with pecans, Anoop is fond of barbecue, Matt really likes hot tea, Danny loves Puerto Rican and Mexican food, Alison loves anything with chocolate on it, Kris favors cornbread as his comfort food and Adam REALLY LOVES ice cream.
  • It is mentioned in an episode of Babylon 5 that Michael Garibaldi eats like a starved man after experiencing serious personal tragedy, though only one early episode draws any particular attention to it. Worth noting that he is consistently depicted as being an excellent cook, particularly when it comes to Italian cuisine. He is also an alcoholic, so the food could also be a sort of Addiction Displacement.
  • On Bones FBI Agent Booth - a former sniper - has a huge weakness for macaroni and cheese. At one point, Brennan surprises him by acquiring the recipe of a chef in an impossible-to-get-into restaurant and serving him a special dinner. It was yet another tiny moment that spoke volumes about their relationship without words.
  • In the Broad City episode "Stolen Phone," Lincoln thinks Abbi is missing. He's so worried about her that he bakes a cake, eats the whole thing, and is in the process of baking another when he finds out she's okay.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • After Buffy and Angel break up near the end of season three, Giles' immediate suggestion is ice cream of some kind. Buffy decides to wait until after she's killed anything that could stop her friends from going to the prom. "Advantage of being a Slayer, kicking ass is comfort food."
    • Buffy: "When this is over, I'm thinking pineapple pizza and teen video movie fest. Possibly something from the Ringwald oeuvre."
    • Averted in "Killed By Death." Buffy is disappointed that no-one brought her chocolate in hospital. Then she discovers that Willow did all her homework. "Chocolate means nothing to me!"
    • After Joyce dies and they have to sit around waiting at the hospital morgue, the Scoobies go to get something from the cafeteria, only to return with armloads of soda, chips, chocolate and sandwiches. Willow says only, "We panicked."
    • When Angel hears that Buffy is Back from the Dead (again), they realize they have to meet...and it's a Noodle Incident on both shows that neither wants to discuss. Buffy brings back a giant tub of fried chicken, while Angel admits he could really use some ice cream.
  • In the episode Good of the Soul on The Chew four of the hosts talk about their favorite comfort foods; Mario wants spaghetti, Carla wants collard greens and cornbread, Daphne is always craving banana pudding and Clinton craves macaroni and cheese.
  • In Doctor Who after the Doctor explains to Rose that he's the last of the Time Lords, and what that actually means, they go out for chips. The chips help.
  • In The Drew Carey Show episode "The High Road to China," Drew is stranded in China with no money and without his passport. He gets some money by working locally and upon arriving in Beijing, almost immediately goes to the McDonald's there. Unfortunately, he still hasn't got enough even for a Big Mac, prompting him to say "I never thought I'd use this in real life, but 'I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.'"
  • Gilmore Girls: Richard cooks his favourite meal for the Friday dinner once. They usually eat very fancy, gourmet meals. His wife Emily doesn't approve of 'Johnny Machete'. It contains a can of cream mushroom soup and it’s twelve different colours. It's served from a casserole dish.
    Richard: Oh, this is my favorite thing to eat as a boy. My gran used to make this for me whenever I was feeling a little sad. You know, if my cricket team lost or a girl I fancied turned up her nose at me.
  • Tater tots for Mercedes in Glee. Naturally, she is not happy when they are banned.
    • Kurt resorts to cheesecake when stressed - whole cheesecakes - and knows that the only cure for loneliness is cake.
      • Interestingly Fanon has it that Kurt just plain turns sweets into Comfort Food...preferably when he's baked them himself and extends the same rules to his teammates.
  • The Golden Girls subverted this once.
    Dorothy: Blanche, where's the cheesecake?
    Blanche: I found two gray hairs.
    Dorothy: Blanche! You're getting old! We all are! That's no reason to eat an entire cheesecake!
    Blanche: I found the two gray hairs in the cheesecake.
  • In Good Eats, Alton Brown mentions comfort food in quite a few episodes but in the forth episode, "Use Your Noodle," he proclaims the most comforting comfort food of all is lasagna (He may have a point there)
  • In the How I Met Your Mother episode Symphony of Illumination, Robin imagines her friends dealing with her telling them that she can't have children. When she imagines Ted's reaction, he fills her up with Comfort Food: Mac & Cheese and Fried Chicken.
  • In Justified Errol has loved marinated pork tongue since childhood. Limehouse reminisces about how Errol's father would bring him pork tongue when Errol was a little boy.
  • In the M*A*S*H episode "Adam's Ribs," Hawkeye goes out of his way to order and have delivered to the 4077th (which is in Korea, remember, in the middle of a war zone) 40 pounds of ribs (plus sauce) from a restaurant called Adam's Ribs in Chicago, Illinois. And why did he go to such trouble? Because he was sick of army food and Adam's Ribs was the best food he could think of. Unfortunately, he never got to eat any of it as he was suddenly called away to the O.R. Pity he forgot the cole slaw.
  • In the first season of Lie to Me Foster is always seen eating or drinking something that's admittedly unhealthy - Slurpees, chocolate, huge soft drinks. Lightman never misses an opportunity to make comments about it, though Foster is firm on her refusal to quit because it's what makes her happy.
  • Mentioned on Orange Is the New Black in "Tall Men With Feelings." During the impromptu memorial, Poussey says she thought they could use some "comfort food" and pulls several snacks from under her shirt and the waistband of her pants.
  • In Parks and Recreation, cheesburgers are one of two known cures for Andy's 'shoe shine head' ailment.
  • Person of Interest. Reese saves the life of a POI from an assassination attempt. When she has time to think about what happened and starts to Freak Out, he offers her chocolate. She asks if it will counter the adrenaline rush. Reese says no, it just tastes good.
  • Rebelde Way: Feli tends to overeat when depressed or stressed about anything, and indulges herself mostly on candy. Mia and Vico have to help her often to not rely on binge-eating to deal with her problems.
  • Despite the name, Samurai Gourmet is largely about Comfort Food, but from a Japanese perspective. Protagonist Kasumi can get extreme pleasure from the humblest of foods, especially when it's seasoned with reminiscence. In fact, fancier food presents its own challenges.
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: Picard. Subverted when Raffi feeds (replicated) cake and chocolate milk to Jurati after she starts to Freak Out; she eats too much and vomits it up when the cause of her stress returns. She's actually feeling guilty because she swallowed a Tracking Device which a Romulan vessel is using to stalk them.
    • Star Trek: Voyager.
      • In "Extreme Risk," B'Elanna Torres is suffering from severe depression and asks Neelix to make her banana pancakes, just like her grandmother used to make. Subverted when she takes a single bite, then leaves. At the end of the episode, she's tucking into another plate with more enthusiasm.
      • In an earlier episode, taking place shortly after the start of the series, Neelix winds up being introduced to the concept of comfort foods by way of simply having various crew members asking him to cook some (in particular he mentions having to learn how to make peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches). Understandable, as the Voyager crew needs a lot of help to cope with the stress of being stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Unfortunately, Neelix is a Cordon Bleugh Chef due to being more familiar with alien cuisines, so his success tends to vary.
  • In Supernatural, when Castiel abandons his host body, we get to see said host body, Jimmy, chow down on cheeseburgers to the point of grossing Dean out. Doubly funny because cheeseburgers are Dean's comfort food.

  • The Jimmy Buffett song "Cheeseburger in Paradise" describes this.
    "Cheeseburger in Paradise,
    Heaven on Earth with an onion slice."
  • The Saw Doctors song "Chips" is about eating a burger and chips to assuage the pain of getting shot down romantically.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Fraggle Rock, radish bars are Comfort Food to Red and Mokey Fraggle. They even sing a song about it!

  • Bleak Expectations: After being dumped by his wife, who's run off to become a Saucy Evil Consort, Harry Biscuit throws himself into trying to scientifically understand evil and comfort eating.
    Pip Bin: Is that a cake shaped like a sofa?
    Harry Biscuit: Comfort food.
  • In and Out of the Kitchen: Anthony has responded to stress or disappointment by ingesting heroic quantities of cheese, chocolate and stir-fried stewing steak.

    Troper Works 
  • In Space Beasts, Ichabod Crane (not that one) really likes a good cup of chamomile tea after a humiliating experience.
    • Also his girlfriend Marzipan the Cat Girl wanted a hamburger with extra onions after being held captive for three weeks by aliens.
    • Most of the characters have their own personal comfort foods, there have been quite a few episodes dedicated to discussing when their comfort foods became comfort foods.
      • Bill Brandy: Ice cream, particularly strawberry flavor.
      • Jim Buckwheat: Apple pie.
      • Ichabod Crane: We already mentioned chamomile tea, but his favorite childhood meal is New England clam chowder.
      • Matoaka Redfeather loves her strawberry sweets. She is especially fond of the strawberry cordial Minsk makes.
      • Edward Green mentions chicken soup as his comfort food.
      • Zander loves apples.
      • Kate Punda Milla has a weakness for apple cake.
      • Cornelius Oolou mentions his love of meat loaf.
      • Thomas Lanky has his tuna fish sandwiches.
      • Rose loves chocolate truffles.
      • Belladonna Starchild: Favorite childhood comfort food is angel food cake.
      • Andy Kan likes French fries smothered in curry sauce.
      • Tipp Barrington has an extreme weakness for cherry pie.
    • Special mention goes to one of the villains, Duchess Bimbolurlina has a weakness for chocolate covered pretzels.

    Video Games 
  • Against the Storm: Each species has several specific foods that raise their resolve; each of these complex foods requires some kind of processing.
  • Bad Dudes: After you rescue him from the captivity of ninjas, President Ronnie wants to go for a burger. You, however, do not get one.
  • Bugsnax: The titular Bugsnax are consumed liberally by all characters, both for nutrition and as a help in dealing with their many and varied personal issues. This takes an extremely dark turn towards the end of the game, when it turns out that the bugsnax are parasitic, and once you eat one, they start prodding at your insecurities to encourage you to consume more Bugsnax until your body eventually falls apart, spawning more Bugsnax.
  • Degrees of Lewdity: Of the things you can purchase from the Ocean Breeze Cafe, all of them either reduce stress (fruit salads, deluxe cream buns), fatigue (pancakes), or both (coffee).
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Played with with Archon Loaf: multiple characters are either from or were schooled in Sharlayan, where Archon Loaf is a traditional dish, and therefore find the taste of it nostalgic...even though all of them freely admit that it's designed to be nourishing and not delicious, and in fact it tastes absolutely terrible.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening: Toyed with. If Gaius is Cynthia's father and speaks to the Alternate Cynthia in the DLC Future Past map, Alternate Cynthia will politely refuse the sweets he offers her... but only because she wants to eat said candy after the fight is over, since she remembers how her now dead actual father used to give her candy as a prize for doing good things.
  • Guild Wars 2: Invoked early in End of Dragons — the Commander cheers Aurene up by catching her some fish.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Right before the Final Boss fight, Xion offers a despondent Roxas a bar of sea-salt ice-cream. They quietly eat ice-cream together one last time.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Soup is a common comfort food in the Zelda series.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Link absolutely LOVES his Grandma's soup, which also recovers his HP magic and doubles his attack power.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Yeto brews a soup for his sick wife using pumpkin, goat cheese, and fish... and as you add each ingredient, the soup becomes tastier (?!) and is a better healing potion. You can drink as much of it as you want, and considering how many bottomless pits and spiky ice monsters haunt the premises, you'll probably want a lot of it...
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Pumpkin Soup is a healing item and is even enjoyed by the Sky Spirit Levias.
  • Mother: This is probably the reason for for the "Favorite Food" in Earthbound 1994 and Mother 3 you can either type in your own actual favorite food, or use one of the default options (Steak and Omelettes respectively). In Mother there are no given default options it is entirely up to the Player to name the favorite food. Of course Hilarity can ensue in Mother 3 where it is used more often:
    Claus Ooh, lunch, lunch! Brains!
  • In one of the Nancy Drew games The Haunted Carousel the hot fudge Fundae is connected to Joy's lost past, Nancy has to order the sundae and grab the special spoon in order to rekindle Joy's Repressed Memories.
  • Winston from Overwatch loves eating his bananas with a jar of peanut butter. It's suggested he's fond of it because his father figure, Dr. Winston, used to reward him with it back when they lived on the moon.
  • In Persona 5, curry and sushi (thankfully not together) serve as this for Futaba due to both being things she enjoyed eating with her mother before the latter's murder.
  • In the Pokémon games, feeding your Pokémon vitamins and EV berries will raise their happiness and make them like you more.
  • In Potion Permit, Xiao used to like his grandmother's cooking as a child, but stopped eating it after he moved to Moonbury because he got busy with work. Dating him makes him remember how much he used to enjoy her cooking, so he makes it for you.
  • Shadowrun Returns. Hong Kong: During the epilogue, the team has trouble sleeping, so Gobbet cooks up a soup that is apparently a Hong Kong comfort food staple; chicken-flavored soya broth, elbow macaroni, tinned "ham" and a heaping scoop of egg-flavored mycoprotein. Gobbet cooks up the same soup after her personal quest too.
  • The Sims:
    • In The Sims 2's Free Time Expansion a Sim with the Family Aspiration can learn to prepare Grandma's Comfort Soup which gives a strong boost to both food and comfort meters and instantly cures sickness.
    • In The Sims 3 you can choose a Sim's favorite food (Along with favorite color and music) Sims will get a mood boost when eating their favorite food.
  • Spiritfarer: The night her mother died, Gwen ate five buckets of popcorn out of grief. Popcorn is classified as a comfort food, the kind of food that she likes.
  • In Tomodachi Life, a Mii's Favorite Food also doubles as Comfort Food, and is a very fast way to make them feel better if they become sad. Their All-time Favorite food, however, cheers them up instantly.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and Spirit of Justice, Detective Ema Skye tends to munch on Chocolate Snackoos (karinto snacks in the Japanese version) whenever she is stressed out, brooding, grumpy, or showing that she's flat-out ignoring people. They also work as the perfect Edible Ammunition. "KA-TONK" indeed.
  • Invoked by Johanna in Double Homework as her go-to way to make someone feel better.
  • In No, Thank You!!!, Corn-on-the-Cob and Bean Daifuku are two out of the only three happy memories that Haru can recall from his life before arriving at sótano.

  • In Faux Pas, after Cindy gets needled by the vet:
    Cindy: So you get ice cream for seeing the vet?
    Randy: Sometimes. For special occasions. Eating too much ice cream would make you sick...And then it's back to the vet.
    Cindy: Then more ice cream?
    Randy: It's a vicious circle.
  • In Find Chaos, an ancient Friendly Neighborhood Vampire matriarch cooks up some étouffée to help Mary recover from a brutal Trauma Conga Line, then calmly offers a serving to a family member who shows up in a panic over a Pregnancy Scare.
  • In Housepets! the depressed dog Tiger frequently eats to comfort himself, to the point of eating disorder. His most frequent comfort food seems to be pizza, but he's also been seen noshing on other things like cookies as well. (Tiger is something of a Deconstructive Parody of Garfield.) In one comic Tiger's owner tells him he needs to go on a diet.
    Marvin: Within the past week, Tiger consumed 57,000 calories worth of pizza, soda, chips and other bagged fried food, ice cream, pasta, snack cakes and regular dog food.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Monster in the Darkness claims to have eaten all the mint thins from some girl scout cookies because.
      Monster in the Darkness: "Sometimes I eat to fill the loneliness..."
    • Roy's mom gave him his favorite food of jambalaya when he was returning from the afterlife. According to Roy, he had been missing this particular dish every single day since his mother died.
  • According to Wapsi Square, pizza is the universal comfort food, even to the point where your demons won't bug you when you are eating it.
  • In Weak Hero, this is the first step of Ben's counselling technique: feeding his 'client' to help them feel better first, with his food of choice being the chicken from his favourite fast food stall. An aside notes that it's proven to be effective in real life.

    Web Original 
  • In Homestar Runner, after his Lappy got swiped, Strong Bad gorged himself on various chips, which he claimed to be his anti-depressant.
    • In both the book and the cartoon Where My Hat is At Homestar really needs a few Cold Ones when he fails to find his hat and thus can't play in the big game. Turns out his hat was between the milk and the Cold Ones
      • In the Sbemail Bedtime Story The Cheat can't go to sleep without his security...item, and a big glass of Suddsu (Which is a glass of skim milk and gummy bears)
  • A comfort drink pops up in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, with Jane's habit of bringing people tea whenever they're upset. (Or, just as often, when she's upset and attempts to cope by nurturing everyone else.)
    Jane: Here, I brought you some tea.
    Lizzie: Not sure I really deserve tea right now...
    Jane: Everyone deserves tea.
    Lizzie: Is it magic tea that tells me how to fix this?
    Jane: It's... chamomile.
    Lizzie: (smiling) I'll give it a shot.
  • The Misadventures of R2 and Miku: Miku takes to KFC when she's really upset.
  • In Neopets, the chips and gravy item is described "The perfect comfort food for a cold windy day."
    • Although it is technically listed under "medicine," not "food" when your pet is suffering from Neoblues feeding them a Tasty Pie will instantly cheer them up, or you could use Steaming Green Tea from Shenkuu, either will work
      • There also is a bit of a inside joke with the Asparagus Anonymous and other asparagus references. A little bit of Author Appeal here as asparagus is one Adam Powell's favorite vegetables.
  • The Nostalgia Chick stuffs herself with Subway and Dairy Queen when she's feeling depressed.
    • The Nostalgia Critic likes all sorts of junk food, but enjoys the cookies and cream brand of Ben & Jerry when he's feeling low.
  • Never get between an Agent of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and his/her/their/other/its chocolate or alcohol.
  • Sam & Mickey: In "Book Club Part 3," Barbie drowns her sorrows in Nutella after Ken tells her about ending their affair.
  • Whateley Universe: Chou's Moon Pies. The rest of Team Kimba have their own comfort foods (Lancer's is pork rinds), but Phase is appalled by all of them since he has the refined palate of a food critic.

    Western Animation 
  • The Brothers Flub, it's subtle but when Fraz isn't worried about overindulging having disastrous results, he is often seen eating starchy stuff like chips, popcorn, and bread. He also often eats cheese and guacamole, and Guapo said Fraz always liked cherry pie.
  • Care Bears (1980s): The Care Bear Cousin Treat Heart Pig seems to be the embodiment of this trope.
    • At the end of the episode "The Great Race," The Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins all treat themselves to ice cream after Lotsa Heart Elephant beats Beastly in the titular race.
    • Another instance in the episode "Home Sweet Homeless"; after the Forest of Feelings is flooded leaving the Care Bear Cousins homeless, the Care Bears console their cousins with hot cocoa.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • In "The Shadow War Part I: The Night of De Spell!", bitter and depressed over the fight with his family last episode, Scrooge drowns his sorrows in Papa Swan's pizza. Lots of pizza. As in, "Scrooge has apparently decided to spend his entire Money Bin on pizza" amounts of pizza.
      "Serving Size: Lonely"
    • Season 3 turns this into a Running Gag, where on at least two occasions characters have either gotten or placed an order for copious amounts of pizza when they feel depressed.
  • In Disney's Feast, James starts out eating whatever he likes, giving a portion to his dog, Winston. When he meets Kirby, she immediately puts him on a diet. Then one day, he grabs an armload of junk food: ice cream, cookies, etc. and goes back to junk food, with a focus in cheese; macaroni, pizza, spaghetti. Winston, while happy at the treats, notices James staring wistfully at the parsley sprig their latest treat is garnished with, and we understand that he's not sneaking goodies when Kirby's not around...
  • One episode of Martin Mystery reveals that Diana's favorite comfort food is poached salmon.
  • In Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Norville "Shaggy" Rogers constantly consumes massive amounts of sandwich and pizza, seemingly to sooth his jittery nerves, even going so far as to consciously seek out food when in immediate physical danger. He shares this trait with his dog.
    Shaggy: Like, being in a constant state of terror makes us constantly hungry!
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "Scenes From a Class Struggle in Springfield", after Marge realizes she doesn't want to become a member of the Springfield Country Club, the family shares a meal at Krusty Burger. (In the DVD Commentary, the writers point out a Continuity Nod to "Lisa Becomes a Vegetarian", as Lisa is only eating french fries in this scene).
    • "Yellow Subterfuge": Marge wants to cook such a meal for Bart. She's sure he won't manage to be good long enough to get to the school trip to a submarine because it is only for the best-behaved kids.
      Marge: Sweetie, about the submarine... What's your favorite food to eat when you're disappointed? I'm going shopping tomorrow.
      Bart: Ice cream sandwiches. Why?
  • Steven Universe:
    • On the Big Donut's menu, there's an 8-donut combo called the Breakup.
    • After getting into a fight with Sapphire, Ruby drowns her sorrows in pepperoni pizza that Greg orders for her in "The Question".
  • Steven Universe: Future: At the start of "Mr. Universe," Greg serves Steven what he calls "ice cream à la pie" in an attempt to cheer him up, which is three scoops of ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a small slice of pie.
  • Summer Camp Island: In "Time Traveling Quick Pants", after Oscar's underwear shows in front of everyone, Hedgehog gives him a chocolate bar as comfort.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the turtles were ALWAYS craving pizza, Michelangelo in particular, to the point that Fanon sometimes depicts him as having an eating disorder.
  • Tuca & Bertie:
    • Near the end of "The Deli Guy", Tuca drowns her sorrows in donuts after her disastrous date.
    • Near the end of "Yeast Week", there is a scene where Tuca and Bertie drown their sorrows in Chinese takeout during a break in their argument.
  • In the Wild Kratts episode "A Bat in the Brownies," everyone gushes over Jimmy Z's brownies which he boasts is his Grandma's recipe. Also in the same episode, Koki (who has been freaking out due to her fear of bats) really wanted some chocolate zucchini bread.

    Real Life 
  • Here's a full list, by country.
  • Most people have a special treat that makes life a little more bearable. What that comfort food might be and why varies from person to person. One study determined that there are at least four categories of comfort food: nostalgic, indulgence, convenience and physical comfort. Another study also determined that males prefer warm, hearty meal-related comfort foods (such as steak or soup) while females prefer snack-related ones (like chocolate or ice cream).
  • Nancy Reagan used to eat bananas in the middle of the night when she couldn't sleep.note 
  • It is said that the poet W.H. Auden kept a bowl of cold potatoes by his bedside at night.
  • Great chef and food writer James Beard found comfort in marshmallows. He didn't like to toast them, he just liked to eat them right out of the bag.
  • M.F.K. Fisher wrote about the comfort foods of her friends: one enjoyed a baked potato with lots of butter, another preferred milk toast. Mrs. Fisher's comfort food was canned tomato soup. She had a even special pitcher from which to drink it.
  • Psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers finds comfort in floating islands, a dessert that consists of meringue floating on vanilla custard.
  • The Italian dessert tiramisù was often given to recovering patients. "Tirami sù" means "Pull me up" (or, less literally, "Cheer me up") in Italian.
    • It also helps that tiramisu often contains large amounts of two of many people's favorite food/drink: chocolate and coffee. There's also a fair amount of booze in some versions of the dessert as well.
  • The German word Kummerspeck literally means "grief bacon," so named for the weight one gains by emotional eating.
  • What people on death row tend to pick as their last meal.
  • Individuals with Bulimia will often select comfort food while on an eating binge. This is because for many people Bulimia is an unhealthy reaction to stress, depression, and feelings of helplessness. Binging provides a sense of comfort and security for many people, so selecting comfort food is a rather natural choice. Ice cream is especially popular, in part because it... erm.... "comes up" smooth.
  • Studies have shown that sugars and fats provide a dopamine rush... and that the parts of the brain that respond to this are exactly the same ones that respond when "sugars and fats" are replaced with drugs and alcohol. In fact, dieting causes a withdrawal-like response. This helps explain why people tend to ruin their hard work within the week of ending a diet — they're Off the Wagon.
  • Autistic people, even those without hypo/hypertaste, often have these, referred to in the autistic community as "samefoods" — you could eat them over and over. They range from straight-up plain rice to a very specific kind of candy you can only buy in small shops.
  • Sales of junk food skyrocketed during the early part of the COVID-19 Pandemic as people stocked up their pantries in preparation for the lockdowns.
  • In Asia, rice porridge, or congee, is considered good to eat when you are sick because it has a mild taste and is easy to digest. To offset the bland taste, it can be served with other ingredients, such as soy sauce, salted duck eggs, youtiao (Chinese fried breadsticks), bamboo shoots, pickled tofu, or anything you like.
  • In Japan, tamago kake gohan is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, raw egg on top of cooked rice. While there are specialty soy sauces and preferences on whether to use steaming hot rice, cold, or anything in between, its origin and basic form is just that, crack an egg and pour it on the rice.


Video Example(s):


The Grinch "Emotional Eating"

The Grinch has to go grocery shopping at the beginning of the film because his "emotional eating" already cleared out his stock of food for hiding out until Christmas is over.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / ComfortFood

Media sources: