The Art of Cozy

“Hygge is about the now, and how to enjoy it and make the best of it.” Meike Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge

Have you heard of hygge? (pronounced ‘hoogah’)

Perhaps you’ve already savoured the sweet little read by Meike Wiking about this soul-satisfying characteristic of Danish living. I may be a little late to the library – the book was published in 2016 and Meike was featured on every talk show in tv land – but alas, sometimes the books make their way to me. At the right time.

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What do atmosphere, togetherness, comfort food, hot drinks, wine, woolen socks, blankets, fireplaces and soft lighting have in common?

They can all be components of the experience of hygge – which is a feeling of intimacy, coziness, and pleasure. Hygge has been described as ‘cocoa by candlelight.’ I love that! Hygge moments aren’t fancy or expensive, but rather, humble and slow. Hygge can be nestling on the sofa in your pyjamas, watching movies with a loved one on a snowy afternoon. It can be playing board games with the aroma of Sunday dinner wafting in through the kitchen door. It’s a glass of wine by a crackling fire, or a cuddle with your dog while reading a favourite book and sipping a matcha tea latte.

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And when togetherness is part of hygge, there’s never any competition. There’s no room for braggarts or one-uppers. Hygge gives space for gentle conversation, good laughs, and liking one another just as we are. There’s no need to impress. Forget hairdos and make-up – it’s all about big sweaters and leggings and tousled locks.

And there’s science here, too! Our amazing bodies release the neurohormone oxytocin when we are in soothing hygge moments. Oxytocin makes us happy and reduces stress, fear and pain.

I’m all over this concept! And frankly, I’ve always been a practitioner and purveyor of special, cozy, intimate experiences with family and friends – these are the moments that I live for. And now I have a name for it!

Hail Hygge!

And then there’s food.

Making and sharing food in an atmosphere of cozy warmth exudes hygge. Bonding over a bowl of something hot and delicious with dear friends is so…hyggeligt.

Here are some of my recent bowl-bonders – just easy, tasty, real food:

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Roasted delights – Arctic char, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and garlic scapes simply adorned with a skiff of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. A few splats of sriracha adds pow to the finished bowl.

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Roasted delights, part two: wild salmon patty (broken into pieces), green beans, red cabbage drizzled with coconut oil – atop a heap of salad greens. Sriracha re-appears.

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Last of the roasted bowl trilogy: wild cod heavily coated in a mix of almond meal and a magnificent chimichurri spice blend (to die for!), with last-of-the-refrigerator-veggie-survivors (broccoli, red cabbage, green beans), and piled onto a bed of spinach.

So simple to put together on one roasting tray. So wonderful to share a bowl with a dear friend.

And a glass. Cheers!

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