So, why the decision to dive into cozy and nostalgic experiences with food?
Since I was a child, I absolutely loved to cook. But for the longest time, I never truly asked myself why. I’ve discovered that cooking has always been my way of making someone happy and content. I am always delighted when I can watch someone else enjoy my cooking after hours in the kitchen rather than sit down and eat the meal myself.
Even though I enjoy cooking for others, when it comes to cooking for myself, the goal is still same. “What can I cook so that I will have a comfy and delicious meal?”
Through years of cooking meals for myself, I unintentionally formed a process when deciding what to whip up for the week.
Like a writer looking for inspiration for their next novel, I seek inspiration for my next meal.
My process isn’t so much methodical as it is intuitive. No one ever asks, “What do I THINK I want to eat?” but rather we ask ourselves, “What do I FEEL like eating?” Food and the dining experience are much more emotionally driven than most people realize. But that fascinating topic is for another day. The overarching question remains, “What meal will make me FEEL happy, content, satisfied…?”
As you can imagine an infinite number of factors can determine what can make someone happy at some point in time. So to make life a little easier, I broke it down to the following three Cozy Factors that will help compliment any meal:
#1 : Consider your surroundings.
What are your physical surroundings? Think about your location, environment, the seasons, the weather, etc. For example, I basically only eat soup or stews in the cold and rainy Pacific Northwest winters, and during the summers (however short) I enjoy making the most of the fresh produce at the local farmer’s market. Also, wherever I am, I like to do a little research and find out what the region is known for producing best. Take Seattle, Washington for example. Depending on the season we are famous for fresh salmon, coffee, Rainier cherries, and Honey Crisp apples. This Cozy Factor is likely the most familiar and easiest to decide on, since it is the most tangible.
#2 : Consider your mood.
What sensations or feelings are you seeking? Are you feeling adventurous and want to try something you’ve recently seen on your favorite bloggers website, or are you seeking the familiar embrace of grandma’s cooking? Sometimes I crave a dish that reminds me of home, sometimes I feel like working with ingredients I’ve never tried before. Either way, depending on my mood, I decide to play it safe or risk complete failure and having to eat out for the week…yes, it’s happened before.
#3 : Consider your latest inspirations.
What are some associations you can draw inspiration from? Are you taking a trip to Spain soon, have you watched a TV show about street food, read a romantic book, have any engaging conversations about history, etc. Often times if I’m traveling some place soon, I enjoy taking a shot at making cuisine unique to my destination. This summer you will get to see my best attempt at comfort food from Great Britain and Ireland.
Of course there are other practical factors to consider like dietary restrictions, cost of ingredients, convenience, nutritional value, how many servings you want to cook for, etc. Independent of these practical factors, when these three listed components are successfully executed, your meal will surely make a lovely dining experience. You can expect your cozy level to be through the roof!
I’d love to hear how the Cozy Factors worked out for you or how it changed the way you decide on a meal.