My mother passed away when I was four. My dad quickly (and I mean quickly - as in less than four months) remarried a woman with a son nine years old than me. They were from Tennessee and relocated to the midwest.
Growing up, family dinners were nonexistent. I was eating the kitchen by myself, everyone else was watching t.v. And what was for dinner was most likely Hamburger Helper. It was gross then and it's gross now.
The only time I had real food (outside of my dad taking me to ethnic restaurants around the city) was when my Grandma Capello came in town from Hawaii. My dad was born and raised in Hawaii and always talked about all the different foods that were available to him growing up, and how it was damn-near-impossible to find those food in Kansas City.
When Grandma was in town, I watched. And I smelled. And I saw real vegetables in the house.
As I got older I asked questions, I took her to the grocery stores (and trust me, it's amazing how that woman can spend three hours in a grocery store looking for what she wants), I got involved. Which helps explain why this makes me excited...
Comfort food for me, before I was diagnosed with Celiac, did include the typical American macaroni and cheese and lasagna; but I've always considered stir-fry (Grandma style) one of my biggest comfort foods as well.
Of course now, I've had to wrap my head around using different ingredients, due to Darwin's food allergies. Typically, this means creating a meal where I can pull ingredients out before I add the allergens that he is allergic to on a level four or higher (he's allergic to everything, we've had blood tests on over 250 foods, so we feed him foods he is allergic to on a level three or lower). But the stir-fry is one meal, if I do not use tamari or seasonings, that the whole family can enjoy together, without separating out ingredients. And the best part? My kids eat every last piece on their plate.
And that's the most comforting of all.