From Lucky Peach Issue 4. Jonathan Gold on American comfort food:

The comfort-food thing started in the eighties, when people were hungry for the food that their moms used to make.  Except Mom wasn’t a very good cook.  Mom made everything out of a box, so they were eating boxed cupcakes and canned frosting.  So restaurants wanted to make frosting that tasted like that, and cakes that were exactly like Duncan Hines.  “American cuisine” is about being nostalgic for food that doesn’t really exist.