Winter Comfort Foods

Photo of cast iron pans of macaroni cheese and sauces
Charlotte Bowers

We are fast approaching the winter season and it’s that time of the year where we bring back the food and drinks that we all love. Winter menus are popping up in all our favourite coffee shops, winter specials are brought back to restaurants, and Christmas fairs are being set up with stalls for hot chocolate and mulled wine. Charlotte Bowers talks about that time of the year where we cook special meals that remind us of home and bring us warmth.

We all have those few meals that bring us comfort, whether they have a sentimental value or simply provide us with warmth amidst the cold winter weather. Some foods may be nostalgic, reminding us of fond childhood memories, or perhaps we get comfort from a food that we routinely eat with friends. A favourite comfort food of mine is pancakes, my family a tradition to have them for breakfast every year on my birthday, and this has gone on for as long as I can remember. Having a November birthday, I cherished the warm breakfast on a crisp day, especially as it was a comfort food of mine.

We are drawn to specific foods that are linked to a positive memory

Throughout autumn we typically savour the pumpkin season, trying all sorts of foods and drinks incorporated with pumpkin and spices. A classic comfort food we indulge on in this cold weather is soup. Roasted vegetables to blend and toasted baguettes is the perfect winter lunch. It’s that time of the year where evenings are spent tucked up in blankets with candles lit, toasting marshmallows, and topping hot chocolates with an endless amount of whipped cream. This brings me so much comfort and happiness and I will forever treasure evenings like these.

Whether a comfort food is a meal, a dessert or a snack, there is usually a reasoning behind it. But what defines a food as a ‘comfort food’? Commonly, comfort foods have high-calorie content, for they may remind us of sweet treats we received as a child, or home-baking on a weekend. Charles Spence suggested that comfort foods are typically associated with a positive memory of a person, time or place and these comfort foods are usually their favourite foods from their childhood. We are drawn to specific foods that are linked to a positive memory, or that elicit a warming sensation within the body.

Having a comfort food is so beneficial at university, especially when I am stressed

Sometimes, a comfort food may be associated with a tradition within a family or culture. So, for those who are living away from home, the food can be a pleasant reminder of home. For example, every Sunday at home we have a roast dinner, a very common tradition in England, so now that I am at university, I continue to eat roasts most Sundays because it reminds me of home. Having a comfort food is so beneficial at university, especially when I am stressed, a reminder of home always ends the week positively.

Comfort foods are so important if you ever need a pick-me-up; for me, I will instantly think of making a macaroni cheese or any pasta bake for that matter. This comfort food of mine I know many will agree with, for macaroni cheese is well-liked. So, if you need a treat to get through a stressful week, my advice is make macaroni cheese!

Charlotte Bowers

Featured image courtesy of Yasser Mohamed via Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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