A love letter to comfort food

Sweater weather (AKA "swetta wetha" - I knew you were thinking it) is something one gets excited about in the fall. It's not eagerness for the cold so much as a respite from humidity. The longing for crisp air. But by the time January rolls around, the "wetha" isn't much to be excited about. The "swetta"? Well, that's another story.

In the winter, sweaters feel cozy against the blustery air. And they provide amazing cover as we indulge in comfort food. Cold weather means soup season, a warm hearth from baking bread, and finishing off all the sweets piled upon you throughout the holidays. In my home, it's Harry & David's Milk Chocolate Cherries and Terry's Milk Chocolate Oranges. You should be writing this down. 


The drizzly, gray days dare us not to hibernate. To crawl under weighted blankets and watch romantic comedies. In the spirit of hygge, let's celebrate the hearty meals that make us feel warm and fuzzy

Here are a few of mine:


Some moms crank open a can of chicken noodle soup when their kids fall ill, but mine would trot me out to a dimly-lit Vietnamese restaurant. We'd sit in a quiet corner and slurp bowls of pho. The silky beef broth is boiled for hours, providing a beautifying dose of collagen. The fresh basil and cilantro make it feel like an herbal concoction. As I got older, I'd drop in chili crunch to clear my sinuses.

Over the years, my pho consumption was for different remedies. In college, my girlfriends and I would get pho to cure hangovers. Pair it with Vietnamese drip coffee, and it's the perfect remedy. Now it not only helps when I have a cold, but it's a pure bowl of comfort on a cold, dreary day. It fortifies you against the elements. 

Palestinian food

Palestinian food

My childhood home always emanated the scent of garlic, and I mean that in a good way. We'd enter the front door to the heavenly smell of roasted lamb, buttery rice, and fava beans simmering in lemon juice and garlic. My mother used fresh parsley from her flower pots on the deck to make tabbouleh salad. She kicked the whole thing up a notch by adding cilantro and Thai basil from her garden- not commonly used in Palestinian cuisine. It was the tangiest, zestiest salad you ever did have.

Unfortunately, my favorite Palestinian foods are a labor of love; vegetables stuffed with lamb and rice. Specifically, rolled cabbage leaves and cored mini eggplants. I'll still take stuffed squash and rolled grape leaves - but there's a hierarchy. Since preparing these dishes is often an all-day, communal family event, I go for the easy classics. A bowl of hummus with extra garlic, or if I'm feeling spritely like my mother, I'll blend in cilantro and Thai basil. This twist gives it that fresh, herbal flavor and green color. I'll warm up the pita bread before dragging it through the bowl. I'll pull out extra virgin olive oil, dip my bread in it, then dip that into a bowl of zaatar. Classic childhood memories. 

Palestinian pita and hummus



On our honeymoon, Robert and I roamed the streets of Florence looking for a restaurant that served fettuccine Alfredo. I knew it was an American iteration of an Italian dish, but I had no idea it was so far removed from Italian life that they didn't even serve it to tourists as a ploy. We may not have found a place, but we did realize we were walking behind actor Jeffrey Tambor enjoying a gelato. 

You can't deny that a bowl of Alfredo is pure comfort. But it's more of my husband's preference, as I sometimes liken it to adult mac and cheese. I prefer a good spaghetti bolognese with too much garlic (kidding - no such thing) and red peppers to give it that arrabbiata heat

fettuccine Alfredo

Whatever gives you comfort and sticks to your ribs, indulge in it now and then. It's one of the perks of wearing those big cozy sweaters. And this perk will be over before you know it; once we hit Valentine's Day, we're halfway to spring. 

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