The term comfort food has been traced back at least to 1966, when the Palm Beach Post used it in a story: “Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’—food associated with the security of childhood, like mother’s poached egg or famous chicken soup.” According to a research by April White, it might have been Liza Minnelli who used the term for the first time in its modern meaning in an interview, admitting to craving a hamburger.
When the term first appeared, newspapers used it in quotation marks. In the 1970s, the most popular comfort food in the United States were various potato dishes and chicken soup, but even at the time, the definition varied from person to person. During the next decades, the nature of comfort food changed in the USA, shifting from savory dishes to sweet ones, while comfort food themed cookbooks started to spread and restaurants started to offer items labelled as such, when originally the term was used for food items consumed home alone. Worldwide diet trends, emerging in the 1990s, like the low fat or the low-carb diet were unable to end the cravings for comfort food. According to White, the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world in 2020 further strengthened people’s need for comfort food that evokes nostalgia and the feeling of belonging.
Info and image from Wikipedia