Winter is simultaneously one of the best and worst times of the year.
Snowball fights are always fun, but shoveling the driveway never is. A skiing vacation in Canada can get you excited enough to look up Whistler homes for sale, but even the toughest skiers know a bad blizzard can ruin everything. Then there’s the food. A big, hot meal on a chilly day is one of the most satisfying eating experiences you’ll ever have, but being cooped up indoors so much makes it all the harder to resist temptation and stay in shape.
Actually, that last part isn’t too bad. Here are three of our favorite cold weather foods that make packing on the pounds totally worth it.
Is there any childhood memory more commonly cherished than coming in from a cold day building snowmen to find a steaming bowl of soup waiting for you, courtesy of dear old mom? Few foods hit the spot quite as well when the temperature is low like fresh, hot soup. Its warmth seems to spread through your whole body in no time at all.
Best of all, there are so many varieties of soup. You can try a different soup (or stew) every day of the week and still not run out of new ones when spring rolls around. Chicken soup. Tomato soup. Beef stew. Chili. Thin, watery soups. Thick, cream-based soups. It’s all delicious. Pair any bowl of soup with a side of soft bread or crumbly crackers, and you have a recipe for comfort food no matter how old you are.
On the other end of the spectrum, sushi is a food perfect for cooler weather not because it will help warm you up, but because the dish itself actually benefits from lower temperatures. In Japan, it’s an unfortunate long-held tradition that women rarely make good sushi chefs because their hands are too warm to handle raw fish.
However you feel about that, it highlights one thing that is true about sushi: keeping it cold is the best way of enjoying it fresh. And freshness is the name of the game when it comes to sushi. That said, it can help turn up the heat in other ways. Spicy wasabi is sure to get you sweating and ginger is known to increase body temperature.
One of the best things about winter is that it’s the perfect time to heat up the oven, hunker down, and spend the day baking. It’s hard to find time to bake sometimes, because it’s often an all-day affair. When there’s a foot of snow on the ground and everything is cancelled, though, you have all the time in the world to bake to your heart’s content.
Of all the things you can bake, cookies are probably the most reliable crowd-pleasers. Their versatility allows for experimentation with all kinds of flavors and ingredients, they’re fun and easy to make with children, and it’s not hard to pump out several batches in a single day. It’s hard to argue that anything tastes better straight out of the oven than soft, chewy, ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie or Snickerdoodle. For maximum wintery goodness, pour yourself a mug of hot coffee and start dunking.
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