When Christmas is over, the days are shorter and darker, and Spring feels a long way off, it’s easy to feel down. However, did you know that some of the happiest people in the world live in Denmark, a country with extremely limited winter daylight hours? Their secret is hygge, a lifestyle concept that encourages happiness and contentment through a simple lifestyle. According to Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, hygge is so important that it’s actually considered "a defining feature of the cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA."
Practising hygge at home can be as easy as lighting some scented candles and curling up with a good book, or wrapping up warm and going for a winter walk with family and friends. The food you prepare can also form part of hygge, as food is such an important part of our overall wellbeing. For some cosy, warming recipe suggestions to help you practice hygge, check out our Hygge collection.
Comfort food is an interesting concept. It can mean different things to different people, and often the food we consider to be ‘'comforting’ is intrinsically linked to a childhood memory or experience. For many of us, it’s food that our parents prepared for us, that we grew up eating, and that reminds us of home.
Whether it’s recreating Dad’s famous Shepherd’s Pie, or trying out Grandma’s Victoria sponge, the food we’re cooking at home means more to us than ever. Rather than simply prepare meals that satiate us, we want food that makes us feel happy, contented and fulfilled.
While comfort food means different things to different people, one thing is certain. When it’s cold outside, it’s hearty stews, casseroles and soups that will warm us up. When you come in from a chilly winter’s day, there’s nothing like sitting down to a steaming bowl of chicken stew with dumplings, or pulling a hot, bubbling baking dish filled with creamy pasta out of the oven.
To find recipes for the types of meals you remember so fondly, search using key words such as stew, soup or pudding. If you find a recipe that sounds familiar but has a few subtle differences, try it! You never know, it might be an improvement on your childhood favourite. Alternatively, adapt the recipe to your own preference; add Mum’s secret ingredient, or that extra glass of wine your Uncle always said made all the difference. The beauty of these recipes is that you can make them the way you like.
If you’re feeling adventurous, search for recipes that are considered comforting in other cultures. You might discover a dish that becomes a new favourite, and in time, your family will begin to associate it with the flavours of home. Try searching for risotto, dumplings or curry to get started.