Feeding the Joy: Cold Weather Food Recipes and Memories

Allison shares cold weather cooking recipes that are close to her heart and encourages readers to share their favorite dishes.

Every winter, I look forward to an abundance of home-cooked meals and freshly baked treats. As the weather dips into the lower digits around my corner of the country, hot comfort foods are becoming the norm – a welcome treat as I miss the lack of summer sunshine. Although I love fresh produce, there is nothing better for me than the soups, breads and hot chocolates that define the winter season around my home.

I love cooking and baking, but a hot summer kitchen can make it hard to motivate myself to turn on the stove. In the winter, I’m happy to take advantage of the extra warmth and let my culinary experiments come into their own. Sure, I maintain a regular rotation of tried-and-true favorites on the meal plan, but the short winter days and cool temperatures give me more time and inspiration to try new things. Some turn out excellent; it is better not to repeat the others. Either way, I learn from the experience and take that knowledge with me into the next culinary endeavor.

Beyond the comforting warmth cooking brings to my kitchen, I appreciate the opportunity it gives me to connect with others. Sharing a meal with friends, family and community is a joy that few other experiences can replicate. And I’d bet a lot of us have fond memories associated with food, too.

When I was younger, my mother designated me as the dessert maker for the holidays. She would show me what to do, then I would spend the night before the holidays helping her prepare the treats we had planned. Favorites included pumpkin-shaped carrot cake and star-shaped sugar cookies stacked to create Christmas trees, with powdered sugar “snow” on top. This tradition continued even after I moved on my own; I always came home the day before vacation to cook and chat.

I treasure those memories and now have a lifelong fondness for baking – and eat the delicious results. I also fondly remember the meal my husband cooked for me on our first date, and going to my grandmother’s house for warm cookies and her chicken and rice casserole. I remember a late night pizza with friends and coffee and muffins. Food brings people together, and that’s a really beautiful thing.

The leaves are falling and cooler weather sets in, so I pull out my cookbooks and dust my cooking bowls. As someone who really enjoys making delicious food, I have to say, I’m excited to get started. And I hope it’s the same for you. Do you have fond memories of a favorite meal, or perhaps a recipe you perfected? If so, I’d love to hear about it. I hope you are eating well this season and sharing the joy with those around you.

Allison Sarkesian, Editor-in-Chief
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