TABLE TALK #49
Welcome to Table Talk, your weekly dose of those wonderful, meandering dinner table conversations that stick with you long after the dessert plate is scraped clean.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin. To welcome the start of Sweater Weather, this week we are talking all things cosy and comforting - and whether or not that should include food.
🍡 Amuse-Bouches 🍡
Comfort is key.
Alternatively, this Instagram page tends to make the world feel brighter.
🍝 Main Course 🍝
On Comfort Food.
As the days grow shorter, colder, darker, the term “comfort food” is flung around the kitchen in ever-increasing intervals. And in the UK, we’re mad about these recipes. Jamie Oliver wrote an entire book on this category, and more recently London-based foodies, MOB, wrote their own take in Comfort MOB, describing the collection as a celebration of “all things crispy, squidgy, cheesy, spicy, warming, sticky, nourishing”.
Comfort food is the rich, indulgent fare that we love to eat but only when the occasion really justifies it. Maybe you’re homesick. Maybe you’re heartbroken. Maybe it’s just the winter and you’re in need of cheering up via cheese and carbohydrates. Your favourite pasta bake won't let you down.
But not everyone shares this view on food. In the introduction to his essay collection, The Man Who Ate Everything, the legendary (and very funny) food critic Jeffery Steingarten writes on comfort eating:
“Returning obsessively to a few foods is the same as being phobic toward all the rest. This may explain the Comfort Food Craze. But the goal of the arts, culinary or otherwise, is not to increase our comfort. That is the goal of an easy chair.”
To him, food is nourishment, and really good food should surprise, delight, and ultimately be unique. Maybe that’s true. But the days of Haute Cuisine are slowly dying. Most consumers would rather eat (and pay for) a satisfying bowl of ramen than a lotus flower jus cloaked in an edible mist. And home cooking is certainly focused on accessibility rather than novelty.
But maybe he has a point. Food is first and foremost about nourishment, not comfort. That’s what our loved ones - and couches - are for, after all. There might be a balance to be found between the two this winter. We plan on testing this theory out by sharing our favourite recipes with as many friends as possible, such as this one from Mob. Pairs very well with Sanguine and a roaring fire.
🍮 Sweet Endings 🍮
September is over, and so is our summer soundtrack. The last song is a gentle ease into autumn from Franki Valley and The Four Seasons. As of next week, our soundtrack will be turning into a watch list: cue our best films to fill up your evenings with.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
🍷 What News From Wednesday's Domaine? 🍷Whilst you’ll always be able to find our wines online, we’re slowly popping up in more and more places. If you find yourself East, get down to dan’s in Dalston or stop by Coffee + Wine at SHED Haggerston to bag yourself a bottle of Wednesday’s.
If East isn’t your bag, that’s fine, we’ll be standing on ceremony alongside various other brilliant brands all through October at raye the store on Regent Street, so please do stop in.