We might have survived the polar vortex (barely), but don’t be fooled — we still have months of long, cold winter ahead. But guess what? We’re not going to complain about something we can’t control (oh, hey New Years’ resolution). Instead we’re going to focus on staying warm. And cozy. Which will be made that much easier by reading Isabel Gillies’ new book, Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World, which we plan to do while sitting in front of a fire, mug of hot chocolate in hand and preferably some kind of cute and snuggly puppy in our laps. Until then, we asked the expert on comfort to share 7 food related items that make her feel cozy. Read on, snuggle bunnies!
COZY is about figuring out the truth of who you are and then arranging yourself in the world. What you like, your point of view, your beat and mojo can help you be at ease, happy or just deal with life that can sometimes be uncomfortable or even quite difficult. Therefore, for two years, I was hyper aware of my surroundings and what made me feel, well, cozy. We all are so different right? And quirky! We hail from diverse places, parents, schools, etc. What one person finds to be cozy isn’t always what someone else will. I find jury duty one of the coziest things to do in this life. The number 1 subway in NYC is cozy to me — pencils are cozy. What’s cozy to you?
There are twelve recipes in the book, because I really couldn’t write a book called COZY and leave out food life. Pot holders are cozy! I also must have eaten 300 almond butter and jam sandwiches while writing this book, so I thought I better include the recipe for strawberry jam.
Making lists is DEFINITELY cozy, so here is a list of seven food things that I feel lucky to have in my life.
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1. Farmers’ Markets
What’s fantastic about farmers’ markets is that there seems to be really good ones in almost every town and city. There’s a little beauty in Millerton, NY, a big huge fantastic one in San Francisco. Last summer I went to a farmers’ market in Missoula, Montana. It must have been huckleberry season there because they were everywhere, and they were delicious. No quicker way to tap into the personality of a region than going to a local growers’ market. Here’s the one in NYC. The starting point of my cooking life starts here.
2. Market Bags
Any marketing is made easier and more sustainable with trusty marketing bags. I’ve tried lots of them, but Baggus are the ones that rise to the top. They are well made, come in all sizes and really do scrunch up small enough to fit in a back pocket. I feel anxious around plastic bags, so I try to have as many of these around as possible. Plus they are pretty and cool!
3. Protein Drinks
I have teenagers who leave for school earlier than I can make a smoothie or omelet. Even though intellectually I know that they are in charge of their own bodies and can make something for themselves before they leave, I still like to have a quick protein drink that they can down in the elevator — it eases my mind that they have a little fuel in them. There are a lot out there but the one that’s caught my eye lately is Evolve. It’s vegan and has 20 grams of protein. The chocolate one kind of tastes like a Yoo-Hoo, and it’s not a plastic bottle.
4. Wooden Citrus Reamers + Spoons
Ohhh how I love a wooden spoon. Anytime I can find a gorgeous handmade kitchen tool I am all over it. However, it’s not often that I’m at a crafts fair or in country stores where local artisans might sell their wares. Most of the time if I am in need of a kitchen tool, I hop on the subway and head on over to Zabar’s (2245 Broadway, New York; +1 212 787 2000). Upstairs from the amazing lox is a wonderful and extensive kitchen supply store. They have everything. I can do a lot of damage in there, not to mention get myself a deli sandwich to eat once I’ve gotten home!
5. The New York Times Cooking Site
Every morning I check in New York Times Cooking to give me inspiration. As much as I love cooking tried-and-true-standbys I know everyone will love, I never want to get into a rut. This website has thousands of recipes, Sam Sifton (the editor) has a friendly voice, it’s great writing from super contributors, lovely pictures and you can build a recipe box so you never forget something you want to cook in the future. Hanging out on that website is a joy.
A cookbook that has gotten me excited lately is The Immigrant Cookbook by Leyla Moushabeck. It’s a collection of recipes of immigrant cooks and chefs from all over the globe. It’s a beautiful reminder that what makes America fantastic is its delicious diversity. I want to cook through this book and make every single dish!
7. Kerry Gold Butter
Of all the ingredients I use, this butter popped into my head. I guess it’s because I see it every day in the fridge, or I like its shape, or I think the idea of soft butter on the counter is pleasing. Really there is nothing more satisfying than a piece of buttered toast. Dunno — but this is our go-to butter. It’s natural, yellow and good.
Isabel Gillies is the New York Times bestselling author of Happens Every Day, A Year and Six Seconds, and Starry Night. Her work has been published in Vogue, the New York Times, Real Simple, Cosmopolitan, goop, and Saveur. A life-long New Yorker and actress for many years, she lives in Manhattan with her husband, three kids, and two dogs.