Once Halloween is here, then Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. It’s this time of the year when everyone seems to gravitate to comfort foods, which are perfect for eating and sharing. When you think back on good times, it usually involves family and friends along with good food. Food makes people happy, pure and simple. Emeril’s recipes for this book are the kind of meals made for large gatherings – such as holiday meals, sports parties, and celebrations of all kinds.
Two of my favorite comfort foods are soups and potato salads. Even though potato salad is more for summer fare, I eat it year round; just like soups seem more for cold weather, I still eat them in hot weather. Actually, pure comfort food has no season. The first item I looked up in the index was potato salad and there was “Emeril’s Favorite Potato Salad,” with its homemade tangy mayo dressing, small red potatoes, salty bacon, hard-boiled eggs, bold red onion, and crunchy celery. Under soups I find one of my favorites – cheese and beer. Emeril’s version has chopped up kielbasa sausage, fresh thyme, and one ingredient I had never thought of using before – cheese popcorn! The popcorn is sprinkled on top of the hot soup along with some fresh chives. I’m doing that. Very soon.
Emeril’s other comfort foods in the book include a luscious banana pudding with chocolate sauce; buttermilk biscuits; carrot cake with a pecan-cream cheese icing; New Orleans bread pudding with a whiskey sauce; seafood gumbo; macaroni and cheese with four cheeses, and barbecued pork roast. I didn’t see one recipe that I wouldn’t want to try. But I think I will start with the potato salad with the homemade mayonnaise, because as Emeril says, “If you never have had homemade mayonnaise, then you ain’t really living!”