Rainy weather makes me want to curl up in bed, watch cheesy romantic comedies, and eat a big bowl of something laden with butter—somewhat good for my overworked brain and underworked heart, but not so great for the hips.
Americans are infamous for this. Our idea of comfort food, depending on what state you’re from, consists of macaroni and cheese, lasagna with ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese between every layer of doughy noodle, meats simmered for hours in red wine and butter, and casseroles with so much cream it makes your heart stop just looking at the recipe.
This type of soul-soothing cuisine has made the likes of Ina Garten and Paula Dean household names.
And we wonder why half the country is obese.
Lucky for me, I live in Colombia, where finding all the ingredients for my favorite comfort foods is challenging. However, I recently discovered that Bogotá is experiencing its two-month-long rainy season, and needed something to transport me somewhere warm, dry, and, alas, comforting.
In December, I met an Israeli man named Shahar. We were staying at the same hostel in Patagonia and became instant friends. After a few days together in El Chaltén, we met up again in Buenos Aires. I told him if he was heading to Colombia, I had a couch with his name on it.
A month later, Shahar had taken up residence in my living room. And as payment for my generosity, he paid me in food.
Here’s his recipe for his take on comfort food, Shakshuka. It’s become my go-to dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And fortunately for me, it doesn’t contain an ounce of butter.