Updated from 8:49 a.m. EDTWe've all heard the story: During a recession, consumers turn to comfort foods, both for affordability and, well, for comfort. Many people are foregoing the dinners out and cooking at home. Others are turning to fast food, a perfectly unhealthy combination of cheap and comforting. McDonald's ( MCD), which has been trading near the middle of its 52-week range for months, has been edging lower lately, and Jim Cramer said on Monday that it's " getting too cheap to pass up." A comfort-food standout is dry-pasta producer American Italian Pasta ( AIPC), which counts Wal-Mart ( WMT) as its largest client and whose performance RealMoney's Steve Gear recently called "extraordinary." TheStreet.com Ratings upgraded it to a buy in December. The stock has been on a steady rise for the past year from a 52-week low of $4.26, setting consistent highs, the last of which occurred on Feb. 25 at the $33.50 level. On Feb. 12, it reported that it earned $26 million, or $1.23 a share, in the prior quarter, compared with year-ago earnings of $1.4 million, or 7 cents a share. It closed down 35 cents, or 1.2%, at $30.41 on Wednesday, March 11. On Feb. 19's "Mad Money" episode, Jim Cramer said the stock was " exactly what you should be buying." This makes sense within the comfort-food theory. Pasta, of course, is an ultimate comfort food. Who wouldn't find solace in Grandma's cheesy lasagna, a rich fettuccine alfredo or a perfect-for-leftovers cheeseburger casserole? Its versatility is another draw, crossing cuisine boundaries and allowing for both the most basic and high-end culinary creations. Pair your elbow noodles with tomato sauce from the can, or dress up your whole wheat linguine with leeks or roasted fennel.