Comfort food is food prepared traditionally, that may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal, or simply provide an easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest meal rich in calories, nutrients, or both. Comfort foods may be foods that have a nostalgic element either to an individual or a specific culture. Many comfort foods are flavorful and easily eaten, having soft consistencies. Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological affects or to increase positive feelings. The term was first used, according to Webster's Dictionary, in 1977. One study divided college-students' comfort-food identifications into four categories (nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods) with a special emphasis on the deliberate selection of particular foods to modify mood or affect, and indications that the medical-therapeutic use of particular foods may ultimately be a matter of mood-alteration.
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