A white plate stacked with chocolate chip cookies
Whether it’s a chocolate chip cookie or a grilled cheese sandwich with soup, come away hungry with respondents’ go-to foods for feeling better

As a season focused on food approaches, responders answered our question with glee. I learned about food I’ve never heard of and others I’d like to try right away. In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.

Health Food vs. Soul Food

My doctor will probably frown upon this answer, but my comfort food is chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes. Add white gravy on the side and a side of broccoli since I’m trying to be healthy.

Sam Fung
Emerson/Fisher LP Gas
McKinney, Texas


Pizza — always pizza. But as fall approaches and there is a chill in the air, there is nothing I love more than tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. It warms the body, heart and soul.

Judy Taranovich
Proctor Gas Inc.
Proctor, Vermont

My comfort food fluctuates. If I’m sitting down to a meal, then it’s fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Road-trip snacks are usually a combination of unhealthy treats that my dad got me hooked on, including beef jerky, Doritos and candy bars. Such an unhealthy combination, but so tasty!

Jason Soulon
Westmor Industries
Shawnee, Kansas

My comfort food is a chocolate frosted donut in the morning with a cup of coffee. I don’t have that every day, but I would never turn it down either. I’ll typically eat that donut first thing in the morning and then have a healthier breakfast later.

Bruce Swiecicki
National Propane Gas Association
Tinley Park, Illinois

My Midwest background might be showing a bit on this answer. For comfort food in our area, we call it funeral hotdish. A hotdish with hamburger and chow mein noodles, veggies, etc. The ladies in our church would make a huge batch of it. Everyone who attended the funeral would be invited to the church basement for comfort food (along with great homemade desserts).

After very sad times, eating together with a group of people gives comfort along with the fantastic homemade food. To this day, it still gives me a warm feeling when I see that special hotdish.

Susan Peterson
Rural Computer Consultants
Bird Island, Minnesota

I joke that my love language is food. Making food for people is a big part of how I show up for and love people. My go-to meal when I want to comfort others is an herb-crusted pork tenderloin, roasted root vegetables and homemade applesauce, with some kind of brownie or cookie for dessert.

When I make myself comfort food, I usually go for spaghetti and homemade meatballs or this chicken divan casserole recipe that my mom made when I was a kid.

Lauren Clark
Bergquist Inc.
Toledo, Ohio

Buttered movie-style popcorn, almost anything filled with vanilla cream, bananas and Oreo cookies.

Richard Strycharz Jr.
Walter’s Propane
Sunderland, Massachusetts

Wait! All food isn’t comfort food? If I have to pick just a couple, it would be potato soup, my mom’s spaghetti recipe or a big bowl of ice cream and Oreo cookies! I’ll stop there because the list would get pretty long!

Tonya Crow
Bloomington, Illinois

I have never met a baked good that I didn’t like. For me, there is nothing better than a chocolate chip cookie, which has proven time and again to be the best and most reliable comfort food. As stated in a card I gave someone many years ago, “When things are bad and getting worse, keep a cookie in your purse!”

Jessica Johnson
Asheville, North Carolina

Pizza — all types and on any day of the week! Living in Rhode Island, which has a large Italian population and a section in Providence called Federal Hill, I have access to some very special pizza restaurants. When I travel, I absolutely look for pizza, since it’s part of my weekly meal planning, and have discovered some exceptional pizza pie establishments in Chicago, Detroit, Boston (North End) and especially New York!

Jerry Schimmel
P3 Propane Safety
Cumberland, Rhode Island

My comfort food is chocolate! I am particularly fond of dark chocolate candy, cake and cookies. I have learned, however, in recent years to eat all of this in moderation!

Rosie Buschur
McMahan’s Bottle Gas
Dayton, Ohio

For the last couple of years, I have begun to make my own salsa and more recently five-layer dip. This combination with tortilla chips has become my comfort food. It works during football games, for a quick afternoon or evening snack and to bridge the gap to the next meal. It has become my comfort food — until it gets old and I come up with a new one.

Tom Krupa
NGL Supply Terminals Co.
Richmond, Virginia

After eating salads all summer, I am ready for a change. My favorite comfort food is soup, and I have several favorites. One of the best dishes is our hybrid gumbo-jambalaya. I don’t remember when this mashup happened, but it is a crowd pleaser.

Julie Johnson
Ted Johnson Propane
Baldwin Park, California

For me, comfort food is seasonal. In the winter, I like a great chili, but I love homemade ham and beans. I make them once a year in January using the Honey Baked Ham bone from Christmas, with a lot of ham left on it. My mom’s side of the family was from the South, and they would have ham and beans frequently. I got my start there. My year-round, go-to comfort food has to be pizza. I love thin-crust, St. Louis-style pizza the best, but I have begun to appreciate the Chicago deep-dish pizza, too.

Boyd H. McGathey
Parkville, Missouri

Ice cream! You scream; I scream; we all scream for ice cream! I absolutely love everything about it. The cold, creamy way it feels in my mouth and the sweetness of it definitely make it my comfort food! My all-time favorite is Häagen Dazs’ coffee flavor. I have favorites in different brands as well. I even make a delicious homemade lemon sherbet. You might say I’m a connoisseur of ice cream.

Paula Moore
Blackburn Propane Service Inc.
Durant, Oklahoma

Comforting Ourselves

When we reach for comfort foods, we are being extra generous to ourselves. Life has plenty of challenges. Let’s enjoy those little pleasures along the way.

Nancy Coop is an industry advocate. She is director of marketing at the M&A advisory firm Cetane Associates.
Contact her at ncoop@cetane.com.


The 2023 Corporate Capabilities Issue