A Girl's Guide to Winter Hibernation

Posted by Lauren Dashwood

I can safely say that last week, for the very first time, I began to resent bears. Bears seem to have it right – they wake up deeply rested in the early spring to increasing sunlight, warmth and greater food supply, while sleeping the long, grey winter away. This past week has been just the type of weather to make anyone envy bears and their ability to sleep away their least favourite season. It has been dull, grey, wet and cold outside; mushy yellow and orange leaves lined the streets and clogged the drains, traffic roared along spraying water all over the sidewalk and everyone on it. It’s only November third, but with these stabs of early onset Winter depression, it already feels like we’re in for a long one. Why couldn’t I stage a kind of revamped hibernation? I would definitely have to stock up with lots of books, movies, wine and good food to keep me going throughout my extended winter’s rest…

While hibernation is probably not truly possible for humans – work, bills and other commitments come in the way of unbridled hedonism, cozying up with a warm winter’s meal can certainly help shake off the blues and chills.

This past week I have been making wintery, often one-dish meals. Squash, Apple and Pancetta Soup takes advantage of the fall harvest, and it is cozy, velvety and filling all in one bowl. The combined flavours of the mellow roasted squash, the sweetness of the apple and the hint of lusty sage, make this the perfect autumn soup. This Herbed Risotto feels luxurious and chic, while also being deceptively simple to make. I am not a naturally patient person, but I really have to force myself to slow down when making risotto and let the Arborio rice absorb all the liquid. It takes a while, but it so very worth it. Throw in some steamed mushrooms, asparagus, smoked salmon or prawns to make this risotto a more complete meal on its own. The errantly named Zucchini Creole was invented by my Grandma years ago for a "One Dish Meal" category at her local Fall Fair. With it's perfect balance of zucchini, ground beef, tomatoes and cheese, it brought in the gold. And always, there’s nothing like baking a pie on a Sunday afternoon. I love the reward of the homey cinnamoney fug filling the house for the rest of the day. This Pear Ginger Pie is a an old classic, with a little twist to break monotony.

Tucking into a warm and cozy meal that was a breeze to prepare, maybe alongside a nice glass of red wine, with a classic movie on, or in front of a roaring fire, makes these damp and grey months almost bearable.