Comfort food — soup, pierogies, Italian cuisine

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“I noticed that women were not making pasta, it was only the older ones that were getting up at 5 in the morning to make pasta by hand every day,” says author Vicky Bennison (right), who wanted to document those around Italy holding on to a dear tradition. Photo by Emma Lee.

Soup is delicious, easy to make, versatile, and a great way to use leftovers. But despite its many virtues, it's not terribly chic or exciting. Journalist and cultural commentator Anne Helen Petersen aims to change that. Born of peasant food to become a national dish, food writer and cook Zuza Zak dedicates a new cookbook to the Polish pierogi. Chris Scott, a chef known for his Brooklyn soul food restaurant Butterfunk, draws out the Dutch and German influences in soul food. Italian grandmothers are still waking early to make pasta by hand and author Vicky Bennison is here for it. With a $350 tasting menu and a mere 35 guests a week, Bill Addison crowns Hayato with the top spot on the LA Times 101 Best Restaurants list.