Now I know a few dusty flakes are nothing compared to the deluge of snow that much of the rest of the country has been subjected to for the past few months, but i felt it to be worth mentioning nonetheless.
Winter weather of course leads me to thoughts of comfort: comfort food, comfort clothes, comfort drink, and comfort entertainment.
When Steve and I were traveling, we each brought with us a selection of DVDs of both television shows and movies; selections that we thought might be fun to watch, but also selections that brought each of us comfort in one way or another.
I'm sure you know what I'm talking about; those movies or TV programs that, for whatever reason, fill you with a sense of calm and happiness whenever you put them on. Those movies and shows proved to be lifesavers on our recent trips.
In moments when I was feeling sick or especially nervous, I could immediately find solace in watching an episode of Gilmore Girls, or the movies Tootsie, Ghostbusters, The Bourne movies, Casino Royale, Julie & Julia (what's not to love about a movie in which two ladies cook and eat constantly?!), Back to the Future or The Lord of the Rings (although I made a grave error with this movie in only bringing the first installment, so that we were left to watch the first part of the trilogy over and over).
Since coming back, Netflix has been a lifesaver, allowing me to find solace and nostalgic happiness in such favorites as Romancing the Stone, All of Me, Fawlty Towers, Superman, Vacation, Private Benjamin, and A Room with a View.
For Steve, the comfort viewing ranges from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Jaws, Where Eagles Dare, The Thing, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Midnight Run and The Italian Job (all of which I love too).
By far Steve's favorite is the TV show The Rockford Files, which he watched as a kid. What could be more relaxing than watching James Garner play the nicest PI alive, one who almost never gets the girl, certainly never gets paid, and who is repeatedly getting thrown out of cars, punched in the stomach or whacked over the head with frying pans?
Since we're talking comfort and cold winter's evenings, let's add a beverage to the mix. My Wine for Comfort is not a wine at all, but a warm apple cider cocktail. I have seen it in restaurants as a Hot Apple Pie. This consists of hot apple cider, Tuaca and whipped cream. Simple, but ultimately warming and delicious.
Tuaca is an Italian liqueur which was supposedly created 500 years ago for Lorenzo de Medici, Florentine ruler. It is made from a blend of Italian brandy, spirits, sugar, citrus and vanilla. The warming and rich flavor is a perfect complement to the clove and spice of the cider.
If you are going to make this at home, don't use plain apple juice that you've heated in the microwave! Trader Joe's sells a terrific spiced cider, or you can make your own by heating apple cider (again CIDER, not watery juice) in a pan with spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Star anise can be nice, too.
Mull these together over low heat for about 15-20 minutes and then pour into mugs. Add a shot of Tuaca and top with whipped cream from a spray can (one spray into mug, another into mouth).
What better way to spend a cold, rainy, snowy evening than curled up with this delightful treat with a movie that makes you feel that all is right with the world? OK, maybe cookie dough would make it better. Give it a try and let me know.
Now I'd love to hear from you: what are your ultimate comfort movies or TV shows; ones that just make you feel good when you watch them? (I think one of my dad's will be Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
What is your favorite warm drink for a cold winter's day?