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Foods That Make You Happy

A few other threads and a crazy day gave thought to this. Woke up with a back ache so no exercise, 10 meetings, no breakfast, no lunch, market down 800 points, lots of good progress on things, one cup of coffee and a stale small bag of Famous Amos Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

Now onto dinner. Jfood opens the freezer and stares and smiles. There is still some hazan bolognese, some lasagne and he remembered he made Emeril's Banan Cream Pie. So what to choose. Yup, all three.

So while mrs jfood is finishing up shopping with little jfood, he gets his dinner going and prepares Mrs jfood's salmon.

She walks in, looks at the dinner table and says, "Wow, either a tough day or a great day."

So the question is....What food make the long days end better than you thought around lunchtime?

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  1. Believe it or not, breakfast food. Eggs over medium, bacon, grits or biscuits and gravy or maybe some fried potatoes. Oh and coffee. I don't know, it just makes me happy.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Boudleaux

      I have to agree with breakfast food. And add to that: veggies that came from the local farm. A big pot of homemade soup on a cold day (white bean, beef barley, chili, chicken and rice). My grandmother's meatballs and sauce.
      And most especially, good coffee.
      What a great thread! Glad your day became great at the end, jfood!

      1. re: Boudleaux

        Ooooh, Boudleaux, eggs definitely make it all better! Throw in some bacon or sausage and some homefries and I am in heaven and smiling from ear to ear.

        1. re: lynnlato

          Yep! I'm right there with you. It is nice too on cold, rainy days.

          1. re: lynnlato

            And to add to the egg/breakfast theme: an Irish breakfast is soooo good. I had one recently with black and white pudding. And the white pudding espeically was nice. Anything with steel-cut oats is good, this being no exception!

              1. re: jenniegirl

                Brace yourself, it sounds gross but it's soooo good. I didn't know what it was when I first ate it....later on was shocked to know i just had black and white pudding, two things i swore were to gross sounding to try. But actually they are so delicious. This is a link to white pudding, but there is also a description of the black. Basically they are like a sausage, but filled mostly with steel-cut oats as well as some meat and spices. Not the least bit greasy (at least the ones I had) and so tasty:

                1. re: poptart

                  The white pudding sounds interesting. I've never heard of it. I have heard of black pudding but it is something that I have been waiting to go back to the UK to try.

                  Thanks for the link and information!

                  1. re: Boudleaux

                    White pudding is fantastic! That or a macaroni pie (also a Scottish food stuff) would cheer me up for sure!

                    Other foods that make me happy - if I can't have a vanilla or red velvet cupcake it'd have to be scrambled eggs on toast - fantastic, or macaroni cheese, but only if made by my mum!

          2. re: Boudleaux

            Breakfast food works well, but a big bowl of pasta with nothing but butter and lots of grated sharp cheese takes the number one spot. (Well, maybe sometimes quite a bit of sliced garlic in the butter.)

            1. re: Anonimo

              Wow that sounds pretty good right now.

          3. Hot chocolate with a dollop of ice cream on top. Oh and baked or mashed potatoes.

            1. To me it is always a pasta dish or pizza. as others have said breakfast, I can eat pasta, pissa for breakfast most any time.

              1. Tomato soup and grilled cheese always brightens my day.

                1. A huge sundae. Chunky ice cream topped by a sauce warm enough to melt it, whipped cream, and a crunchy topping for texture.

                  1. Stopping by at my Mom's house to visit ( I stop by 3-4 times a week, both she and I live alone) and finding out that she made one of those childhood favorites of mine, that only she can make right. And, of course, there is always enough leftover for a take home dinner and lunch.

                    Mom also loves to bake, loves to try out new recipes. I do not eat sweets. SO she has taken to setting aside a batch of mom's home made sweet baked goodies for my team at work. Mom likes to spread those happy smiles around.

                    For myself, a good nice awesome bit ot cheese; pasta with tons of melted butter and freash garted cheese, or a good asian soup.

                    1. In a word, carbs. If I feel like being good, mac and cheese or rigatoni vodka. If I feel like being bad, raw cookie dough or a spoonful of caramel sauce.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: theferlyone

                        Carvel Ice Cream's Fat-Free Soft Serve (Super Creamy) with their "Brown Bonnet" on top (Milk Chocolate Hard Sauce). It's my Good/Bad Favorite!

                      2. A bowl of good soup -- e.g. chicken vegetable.

                        Warm apple pie with real vanilla ice cream

                        Chinese dumplings

                        Beef noodle soup

                        Chinese hot pot

                        Tapioca pudding

                        1. Saltenas, fried clams or scallops, a good chili dog or taco, dim sum, duck, a Taylor Pork Roll sandwich, Italian sausage sandwich.
                          After yesterday's 800 point drop, a box of wine,

                          1. my dads homemade chili it always warms me up and make me happy.

                            1. Raw fennel slices always helps, as do spicy pickled peppers (not at the same time). Or risotto ai funghi that's like 1/2 funghi, with lots of pecorino and some raw oil, with part of a nice bottle of red burgundy, ricotta with honey for dessert, then under a blanket, a good movie, and the rest of the bottle.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: tmso

                                michael chiarello told the story that his mom was always incorporating fennel into his foods to calm him down -- and giving him fresh raw fennel. http://members.aol.com/wheatldee/Dire...

                              2. Deciding last minute to go out for dinner after a rough day.

                                Have a few drinks, unwind, and have someone else do the cooking, and cleaning. It does not matter if it is a big steak, chinese food, mexican food, etc.

                                1. Definitely carbohydrates and alcohol for me. Either spaghetti and meatballs and an easy bottle of red wine, or baked macaroni and cheese and a couple IPAs. It's like I'm 6 years old again, but this time mom lets me drink.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: erwocky

                                    Pizza. Frozen and doctored, pickup at local joint. But it's pizza. And red wine.

                                    1. re: erwocky

                                      XD.........i love that comment "i'm 6 years old again, but this time mom lets me drink"

                                    2. spanakopita and a really fresh greek salad make me very happy. and good taramasalata with toasted warm pita bread. and indian butter chicken. and thai drunken noodles and som tum. aioli makes me happy -- especially on an extra-crispy french fry. bouillabaisse or zuppa de pesci. shrimp cocktail, with remoulade. good fried calamari. hot artichoke-parm dip. arugula with vinaigrette and shaved parm. lamb/beef gyros. eggs florentine. shrimp newburg. lobster, any way, shape, form. coconut custard. crab imperial. good smoked baby back ribs. n.c. style pulled pork on a fresh bun. steamy french onion soup. crab crepes. shrimp and pork dumplings. hot flaky biscuits with sausage gravy. seared scallops. quenelles de brochet with sauce americaine. blanquette de veau. toasted coconut doughnut. fried green tomatoes. keema kabob. tom kha gai. mussels marinara. shrimp fra diavolo. carnitas. corn pone with field peas. saag paneer. thai crispy fish.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        oh, i forgot champagne! thanks for reminding me, bubbles4me. make it bubbles4me2. ;-P

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          I have to agree. Bubbles, Cheese & Bread can make any day better!

                                      2. Good garlic bread, with or without cheese. Creme brulee. Chocolate.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: scuzzo

                                          Giant baked potato with butter, sour cream, green onion and sweet green peas....when I am having a really bad day my hubby will pick up potatoes and bake them for me.....also a junkie for chips, salsa and a really good margarita. When all else fails a cold glass of really good Champagne will set me right really quick!

                                          1. re: scuzzo

                                            Jfood was sitting having a cup of coffee this morning and readin the paper and mrs jfood started making her omelette. He noticed that she was separating eggs and throwing the yolks down the sink..."NO!!!"

                                            Jfood will now have ample supply of yolks for creme brulee going forward. :-))

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              Yes, I find it really shocking to throw away good food like that. People with serious cardiac problems who can't eat yolks should have a "yolk donation bank" for gastronomes.

                                              1. re: jfood

                                                jfood, jfood, jfood ... are we converging in our thinking!? (from your fond "food safety" vs "food waste" nemesis.

                                            2. Good chili
                                              hot and sour soup
                                              hand cut french fries with malt vinegar and salt
                                              reese's pieces sundae from Friendly's

                                              1. This is definitely the only correct answer. Pastrami on a good rye with mustard and a glass of Cel-Ray.

                                                No other answer is as good.

                                                (So what if it costs $24 at Harold's in East Brunswick.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: MoxieBoy

                                                  The hot food counter at the Hong Kong Supermarket on Rt 18 in E. Brunswick with a can of coconut water. (One Up-man-ship).
                                                  This answer is better and cheaper!

                                                2. What a great topic, jfood =)

                                                  Foods that make it "There, there - all better" in my world:

                                                  raspberry gelato
                                                  extra crispy bacon, by itself

                                                  1. Brussels sprouts, but only if I get to twist them off the stalk.

                                                    1. Definately sushi, oysters, seafood and shellfish with either a cold beer or a nice margarita on the rocks w/salt.

                                                      1. nilla wafers and peanut butter. preferably consumed on the couch, dunking the wafers in the PB jar.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                                          Banana pudding made with nilla wafers, PB and J, Sushi, Pasta, RIta's Water Ice, Matzo Ball Soup, Pastrami or Corned Beef, My Beef Stew, Hot Chocolate, chocolate anything really - I'm a sucker for the theobromide (I even have a shirt with it's molecular map.)

                                                        2. well in general...all GOOD food makes me happy in a toe curling kinda way..but for some reason my first thought to this thread was marshmallow peeps... maybe because i only have them once a year, and just looking at them makes me happy.

                                                          I'll also add the wonderfulness that is a honey crisp apple, just because I rarely have them...seriously, i have been stalking the local farmers markets waiting for them to arrive.

                                                          However, what really warms the cockles of my heart, is anything my family cooks for me, particularly my parents, because it brings back such warm and wonderful memories, and I don't presently live near enough to my family to visit for meals (actually that would require a flight). This would include (a non-exhaustive list):

                                                          -my Mom's salt codfish cakes, her fish and brewis, her molasses buns and teabuns, fruitcake......
                                                          -my Dad's pea soup with Mom's doughbuoys, and their combined effort of Jigg's Dinner, Dad's homemade beans...and no one can seem to fry an egg that tastes remotely as good as my Dad makes.
                                                          -my middle sister's piccadillo chimichangas (made veggie) because she used to make it for me every birthday when we shared an apt. also her egg's benedict (don't tell my oldest sister)
                                                          -my oldest sister's egg's benedict :) and the scones and such she makes for brunch...her sushi, and just about every damn thing she makes and bakes for thanksgiving, Christmas dinner and New Year's Eve....but most importantly with respect to Christmas, her Stollen....

                                                          ( i'm a little home-sick this evening...can you tell? )

                                                          On to wine....found a reserve of one of my favorites on sale this evening..that made me happy :)

                                                          1. A pre-dinner preparation once a week to cheer me up if needed: an artichoke topped and then steamed in the MW (learned that here from you Hounds), eaten with a homemade yogurt-based dip (with a bit of oil and flavor depending on mood, could be olive oil and spicy mustard, sesame oil and chile, neutral oil and Tabasco) served with a slightly chilled red, most often a Chilean cab. Prep time of five minutes is followed by slow eating and sipping, eventual choke removal, thin slicing of the heart, and more sipping and savoring each delicious bit.

                                                            1. Pizza from a wood-fired oven, and fresh, local peaches and pears.

                                                              1. Eating Mexican food and drinking Bar Harbor Brewery beers with Scargod this afternoon. Wait for the post!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                  We just had that "happy meal!" Damn fine Mexican food! El Tapatio in Fair Haven, CT (east New Haven neighborhood). Look for new review!
                                                                  Eh....yea, I forgot: the company of Mark, "Passadumkeg" was part of the comidas bueno-ness. He brought me a Cadillac (for Cadillac mountain at Bar Harbor), Stout and Thunder Hole Brown Ale, both from Bar Harbor Brewing company! Mark's trying to educate me in good beers.

                                                                2. Last night I had a "foods that make you happy" dinner. I wandered into a cheese/gourmet shop I'd been wanting to try. Bought a bottle of Hefewiezen beer, some brie, some amazing rustic bread (whole wheat/rye??), and some paper-thin sliced salami (they had a small container of mixed types). Went home and that was my dinner. Very simple, but all of the ingredients were divine. Happy happy happy!

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: poptart

                                                                    brie on a crispy/chewy french baguette makes me happy, too!

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        Because you said this, I bought brie and baguette yesterday and that was my supper! So great!

                                                                        1. re: scuzzo

                                                                          And I had a repeat of the previous night's supper, german rye and brie. Alas, the brie is now gone. Probably a good thing, because I'd probably have had it again tonight!
                                                                          It's the little things, isn't it??

                                                                    1. Oh so many!
                                                                      Vegatable soup with monkey bread(plain, not cinnamon sugar)
                                                                      Pork Roast with gravy & mashed potatoes
                                                                      A simple pasta dish with sauteed mushrooms, onions, pancetta, thyme & cream
                                                                      Bacon & Egg Sandwich (with egg slightly runny)
                                                                      Tres Leches Cake

                                                                      1. Chinese food Chinese food Chinese food Chinese food...
                                                                        And potato pancakes. (But only my own.) And if these should somehow fail, there's always the Egg.

                                                                        1. Pancakes, particularly chocolate chip, always make me smile.

                                                                          Chocolate ice cream and a root beer also are soothing on a hard day.

                                                                          A big plate of penne a la vodka warms the soul.

                                                                          Take home sushi eaten on the couch in my PJ's is a great way to end a long day.

                                                                          Chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, need I say more?

                                                                          And a beer, or wine, with sympathetic friends can make a world of difference.

                                                                          Oh and gelato, gelato = happiness.

                                                                          1. Thanksgiving is not a big holiday in Qu├ębec, but this year we are doing a harvest supper with lots of local-produce salads and cooked vegetable dishes, as well as a turkey (but plenty of choice for the non-meat-eaters among us). We are also raising a bit of money for Hurricane Ike victims in Haiti and Cuba.

                                                                            I love good pizza and its kin - whether Italian pizza or the lovely flatbreads of the Eastern Mediterranean. With some nice but not expensive wine and lively green salads such as arugula or watercress...

                                                                            And I'm fond of a lot of the small dishes of the Mediterranean. The thought of them makes me feel sunny and happy, like a Greek village cat sleeping in the sun.

                                                                            1. a big stack of fluffy pancakes with melted butter and real maple syrup and a perfectly microfoamed latte. follow that with a really well-frosted cupcake and an ice cold milk, and the day ended great in my book.

                                                                              1. Cheese. Especially goat cheese. Especially Humboldt Fog.
                                                                                Perfect, tree-ripened peaches.
                                                                                Fried potatoes.

                                                                                1. Hot Apple Dumplings with Cold Vanilla Ice Cream
                                                                                  Chilled Strawberry Wine
                                                                                  Warm Yeasted Sugar Cake
                                                                                  Salad Lyonnaise(Bacon and eggs are primary in this so I guess I am agreeing with all the breakfast people)


                                                                                  1. I picked Rome and Jonagold apples with my nine year old daughter last Sunday - perfect fall day. The apples were warm from the sun as we picked them from the trees. We made an apple tart (topped with vaniila bean ice cream) that afternoon. It was wonderful. A happy day that I will never forget......

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: six dower

                                                                                      Beautiful, six dower. I can't wait to do the same soon with my granddaughter.

                                                                                    2. My husband, 2 boys, and I did the apple picking today, at a local orchard. The weather was perfect, and we picked a wide variety of apples (pear, mitsu, winesap, golden delicious, and rome beauty.) Then it was on to the buffalo farm to pick our pumpkins, and some buffalo meat. When we got home, I made a apple crumb pie topped with vanilla bean ice cream, and home-made whipped cream. It was a perfect day/dinner. (Yes I had pie for dinner, did not want to fill up on an actual meal)

                                                                                      1. It is very easy to make me happy with food!

                                                                                        But some of my favorite comfort foods:

                                                                                        Spaghetti and meatballs
                                                                                        Linguine with clam sauce
                                                                                        Chow mein
                                                                                        Mum's kimchi
                                                                                        Oxtails in any form: Korean soup , braised oxtails in red wine. Throw in short ribs (Kalbi, braised, in soup, etc,) and I am so happy my eyes pop out of my head.
                                                                                        Mashed potatoes, or even boiled potatoes with butter and salt.
                                                                                        Mac and cheese
                                                                                        chocolate chocolate chocolate!
                                                                                        Roast chicken dinner with all the fixings: gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mash potatoes, green beans and carrots.
                                                                                        Lamb, butternut squash and pomegranate stew.
                                                                                        Dumplings in all forms: chinese dim sum, chicken and dumplings, matzoh ball soup.

                                                                                        1. eggs benedict
                                                                                          gala apples
                                                                                          pate,red wine, manchego
                                                                                          vanilla wafers
                                                                                          Bbq beef ribs

                                                                                          1. - Congee with salted duck egg, BBQ pork and BBQ duck. If I was on death row, this would be my last meal.
                                                                                            - Toasted sandwiches with sardines in tomato sauce. It sounds really odd, but my grandpa and I loved these and it always reminds me of him.
                                                                                            - Steaming hot rice with corned beef from a tin, the ultimate lazy meal. Close runners-up in the salty tinned things + rice category are milkfish in chili oil + rice, and fried dace + rice.
                                                                                            - Pho, with lots of tendon and tripe. So comforting.
                                                                                            - Montreal smoked meat from Schwartz's.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: mogo

                                                                                              A nice steaming bowl of milky white tonkotsu ramen with a layer of grease floating on the top. magic.

                                                                                              A traditional English fry up (breakfast) with a good mug of tea.

                                                                                              A nice bit of pork belly with crispy crackling on top.

                                                                                              A roast rib of beef or leg of lamb with all the trimmings, and a flavourful gravy.

                                                                                              A sizzlng premium quality sausage on a BBQ

                                                                                              a crispy roast duck, hanging up in the window of a chinese restaurant

                                                                                              Basically, its all unhealthy but it makes me happy!

                                                                                              something a bit healther would be a massive plate of mixed sashimi, including yellow tail, abalone, scallops, sweet shrimp, toro, salmon, and sea urchin and ikura sushi. With freshly grated wasabi and a nice thick soy sauce!

                                                                                            2. Hands down nothing makes me happier than creamy peanut butter and chunky preserves on multigrain bread. And a tall glass of cold milk to wash it down.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: gnats

                                                                                                the ultimate childhood nostalgia comfort meal! it makes me happy, too. toasted bread or soft?

                                                                                                1. Hot and Sour Soup
                                                                                                  Peanut Butter
                                                                                                  Fluffy Omletes
                                                                                                  Pumpkin Spiced cottage cheese
                                                                                                  Steamed broccoli with garlic
                                                                                                  Roasted Veggies
                                                                                                  Perfectly grilled and season chicken breasts
                                                                                                  Butternut Squash Soup
                                                                                                  Soft Serve Ice Cream
                                                                                                  Miso Sea Bass

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Jacey

                                                                                                    jacey: Pumpkin Spiced cottage cheese

                                                                                                    in-te-res-ting! tell us about this. where do you get it? or do you make it yourself?

                                                                                                  2. this is odd but it stems from the fact my mother and i both love it- liquorice just the smell even and cadbury dairy milk varieties again childhood parties and the such infact party pies sausage rolls pies in general with tomato sauce make me happy. raisin toast also reminds me of my mother and road trips.

                                                                                                    my favourite food since i was two has been japanese pickled plum triangles which i used to get at dimaru in melbourne delicious always make me smile and ice cream in general and warm apple pies remind me of times with my brothers on holidays.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: umbushi plum

                                                                                                      Do you mean musubi with ume-boshi (pickled plum triangles)?

                                                                                                    2. Oh gawd! Too many to choose!

                                                                                                      I guess what really makes me happy is actually getting in the kitchen and cooking something I've never done before.

                                                                                                      Another thing would probably be a good cup of coffee and a bagel with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes...the works.

                                                                                                      Also, I love just eating some sort of good cheese - like an herbed goat's cheese - spread on some yummy crackers with a bottle of wine. Dinner of champions!

                                                                                                      1. Right now, after recovering from a touch of salmonella poisoning (I still don't know how I got it)...solid food in general makes me happy. Actually, the foods that really make me happy even though I haven't had it in years is my mom's lamb chop stew. The last time she made it was about 7 years ago for my birthday. I requested it.

                                                                                                        1. Great topic!

                                                                                                          Mac n Cheese
                                                                                                          Bologna Sandwich (no kidding) with fried onions
                                                                                                          Pulled Pork Sandwich
                                                                                                          Chicken noodle soup
                                                                                                          Fried Catfish with hot sauce
                                                                                                          A med rare hamburger with REAL fries
                                                                                                          deviled eggs
                                                                                                          My grandma's cornbread giblet dressing
                                                                                                          Fried egg sandwich with bacon
                                                                                                          Okay..now I have to go eat.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: melly

                                                                                                            All right Melly, I don't know about your grandma's dressing, but everything else is pretty much spot on for me. Pho is definitely the top of my list but not the very top. The very top is a nice hunk of blue cheese.

                                                                                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                              Mmmm...Pho. I know what I'm having for lunch.

                                                                                                          2. New York bagels (we live in CA, bring them back two dozen at a time and freeze in twosies) toasted, lox, cream cheese, capers, red onion and Champagne.

                                                                                                            Or breakfast for dinner. Until reading this thread, I didn't realize that my mother hadn't invented this half a century ago.

                                                                                                            Pasta with butter and cheese.

                                                                                                            I'm getting happy just thinking about the above :)

                                                                                                            1. Cold sesame noodles for me. Just soba or spaghetti noodles tossed in sesame paste, rice vinegar, chili oil and garlic. Top with shredded cucumber, carrot, scallion, and scrambled egg strips. One bite and I'm a kid again!

                                                                                                              On the junk food side, Totino's frozen pizza carries a lot of nostalgia. The first taste always conjures up the faces of absent friends, and the smell of the ocean breeze in Panama City Spring Break.