Modern Comfort Food features recipes for Boston cream pie, chutney grilled cheese, "outrageous garlic bread," and more comforting dishes for these anxious times.

By Maria Yagoda
Updated October 07, 2020
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In early May, Ina Garten announced that she would be moving up the release date of Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by several weeks—"because we all need it ASAP," she said. And now, on October 6, the cookbook is finally out in the world to soothe us in the way only Ina Garten can.

Garten tells Food & Wine that Modern Comfort Food, which spotlights comforting dishes like Boston cream pie, "outrageous garlic bread," chutney grilled cheese, and smashed hamburgers, was the easiest cookbook she's ever written, in part because every recipe was something she wanted to eat every day.

Courtesy of Amazon

"I'm not the kind of person that'll show you how to eat something you'd never thought of eating," she said. "I am kind of the person that always wants to make a better potato chip ... something you really love that I'm going to make so good you're never going to want it any other way."

Of course, she conceptualized the cookbook long before the coronavirus pandemic—a devastating global crisis that has left many people searching for comfort wherever they can find it. The timing is right for comfort food.

"I had no idea," Garten said. "When I chose the title, I thought we were coming up against an election. No matter what side of the aisle you're on, you were going to be stressed. Little did I know there would be layers and layers of stress. So hopefully people will be able to make the recipes and feel good."

For Garten, there's one dish, in particular, that has been the most comforting during 2020, and that is soup.

"If I'm really cranky, a big bowl of soup makes me feel better," she said. Thankfully, Modern Comfort Food includes a recipe for creamy tomato bisque, so we've found ourselves a new coping mechanism.

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