From Ramen to Pancakes, Here Are 12 Meals Bringing Comfort to TIME 100 Leaders Right Now

A grid of photos showing Scott Kelly, Kai-Fu Lee, Elise Stefanik, Jason Reynolds, Massimo Bottura, Martha Stewart
Getty Images (6) Clockwise from Top Left: Scott Kelly, Kai-Fu Lee, Elise Stefanik, Jason Reynolds, Massimo Bottura, Martha Stewart

In times of uncertainty, a familiar recipe that reminds you of better days can provide solace and strength

In times of uncertainty, a familiar recipe that reminds you of better days—sitting around the table with family or inhaling snacks alongside friends—can provide solace and strength. We asked members of the TIME 100, our community of the world’s most influential people, to tell us about their comfort foods of choice, from soul food to salsa. Here are their favorite dishes.

My flocks of chickens provide me with dozens of eggs each day, and I am so grateful to them. Steamed soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, frittatas for lunch, soufflés for dinner—the options go on and on.”—Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

“A few recipes have emerged as our favorites: chicken under a brick (never fails to please), Moroccan lamb stew, Ghanian peanut stew and Tuscan lasagna. We are super focused on flavorful robust dishes that are economic and can feed us for multiple days.”—Lynn Nottage, playwright

“Honestly, pancakes and eggs with cheese. A classic slap of a meal.”—Lil Nas X, musician

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“Whiskey. For obvious reasons. I jest. Sort of.”—Scott Kelly, astronaut

“The simplicity of salsa and chips. Comforting, consistent and easy in a time of crisis. But when this is over, nothing beats my mom’s home cooking.”—Elise Stefanik, U.S. Representative (R., N.Y.)

“Chinese hot pot can bring the family together to have long, from-the-heart conversations. It’s easy to make, accommodates each person’s individual taste, and everyone can participate from preparation to cleanup.”—Kai-Fu Lee, CEO of Sinovation Ventures

“I love to cook, but for comfort during tough times, the only salve is whatever’s in the pot my mother is stirring.”—Jason Reynolds, author

“Mashed vegetables.”—Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer

“Soul food! I celebrated my husband’s birthday on the 4th, and I made him a full Thanksgiving dinner because it’s just so comforting.”’—Misty Copeland, ballet dancer

“To me, there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of instant ramen with a fried egg on top. It’s simple, quick and yummy. I’ve also been learning Asian recipes from the website the Woks of Life and surprising myself that I’m able to make some dishes that taste like they came from a restaurant. Well, almost.”—Kevin Kwan, author

“My mom’s cooking gives me comfort. Her cooking reminds me of home. I love when she makes salmon and grilled asparagus.”—Zion Williamson, NBA player

“Cooking in general has given me comfort. I have not truly cooked on a daily basis in years. The mixing and chopping and sautéing is all emotional and feels like I am a kid with my mother in her kitchen. I find it incredibly soothing.—Shonda Rhimes, showrunner, producer and screenwriter

“I’ve learnt to make my own pancakes for breakfast. I use oats, almond milk, 1 egg, bananas, blueberries, baking powder, and cinnamon.”—Mohamed Salah, Olympic and Premier League soccer player

“Passatelli in brodo. It is the ultimate Sunday-night comfort food: a hearty and satisfying meal out of almost nothing, just a dough of bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, eggs, a pinch of grated nutmeg and simmered in broth. Buon appetito!”—Massimo Bottura, chef

“I have a very good relationship with chia seed pudding. I love making it because it’s easy and tastes like junk food but it’s not nearly as bad. Although I do crave Cheeto Puffs every other day, I’ve been trying to teach myself to fight unhealthy cravings and find healthy alternatives.”—Chloe Kim, Olympic snowboarder

This article is part of a special series on how the coronavirus is changing our lives, with insights and advice from the TIME 100 community. Want more? Sign up for access to TIME 100 Talks, our virtual event series, featuring live conversations with influential newsmakers.

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