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Talking Nashville Comfort Food

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Photo by Charles Hunter III

Charles Hunter III of A Local Forkful shares his favorite places to nosh in Nashville.

I can recollect descending the school bus steps, opening the creaky-screen door and being greeted by homemade pound cake, sweet potato pies—and if I were lucky—a cast-iron skillet with cornmeal crusted okra fresh from the garden. My great-grandmother was a natural at concocting some of the best comfort foods, and I’m not even sure she was aware of it.

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Photos by Charles Hunter III

I live in Nashville, and the city’s culinary scene is growing at a rapid rate. On any given day, based upon on my mood, I can find some of the best comfort foods here in town. In one bite, I’m opening that creaky screen door. If I’m trying to satisfy my insatiable “sweet tooth.” The Cupcake Collection works for indulging in a few sweet potato and strawberry cupcakes. The owner, Francois Mignon, has these nostalgic childhood treats down to a science.

If I’m in the mood for something on the heartier side, I might skip across the bridge to Lockeland Table on the east side of town. Chef Holdenbache has a seared bone-in pork loin accompanied with smoked cheddar mac-n-cheese and collard greens; it is a dish that drives me down memory lane to the Sunday dinner table after church.

There’s a vast array of comfort foods ranging from complex to those of the simplistic nature. I can’t help but consider myself to bea luster of the simplistic genre. One of my favorites can be found at The Biscuit Love Truck, a food-truck that makes some of the best biscuit sandwiches you’ve ever eaten. The East Nasty steals my heart every time. It’s a delightful buttery biscuit with buttermilk fried chicken, local cheddar and sausage gravy.

Comfort food has no boundaries because we all have our own version of exactly what it should be. It’s cultural, it’s emotional and it’s delicious. It’s the art of using ingredients in such a format that we’re allowed to escape life’s current stressors in exchange for a stress-free moment from our past. It’s the warmth of a sweater in the fall … or maybe a plate of cornmeal-crusted okra fresh from the garden. And in Nashville, it’s easy to find.