I thought I’d participate today in Frank’s
linkup, and it’s my first time taking part in it! 🙂 The question he asks us this week is:
Whether it’s soups, stews, or chili, are there certain foods that you consider “winter fare”, only suitable when the temperature dips low enough to turn the furnace on, or do you just eat whatever whenever?
The soup that I definitely associate with winter is chicken soup. It’s not that I only eat it during winter, but it has a very wintry feel, and I think with the right amount of spices and made the right way it can be so incredibly warming. I like it either with noodles as a proper soup, or just a drinkable broth. But it has to have parsley in it and a lot of spices so that it’s also hot in terms of taste, not just temperature. My Mum always makes it very fat and sticky with a lot of collagen, because she’s crazy about collagen and having enough of it. I guess there is some relationship between broth/chicken soup and getting rid of mucus, because I tend to be quite phlegmy and especially in winter, and for many years I used to get a recurring winter allergic bronchitis every single year that would last for months, now it’s been getting better over time and there are even years when I don’t get it at all or it’s a lot milder than it used to be, but even if I don’t end up getting the bronchitis itself I’m still more or less always phlegmy in winter anyway, and chicken soup is one of the foods that I find to be helpful with the mucus thing, but it could be just all the spices doing the trick rather than the soup itself. When dealing with mucus, apparently millet is one of the foods which helps to get rid of it, so at such times I’ll more often have my chicken soup with millet.
Another soup I very strongly associate with winter is borsch, which is a Polish soup made of beetroots. It’s often traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve, typically with a lot of seasonal spices like cloves and a sort of ear-shaped noodles with cabbage and mushrooms stuffing, which is why it’s often called borsch with ears, or it can be drinkable. This past Christmas Eve, we had both. You can also eat borsch any time of the year but then it typically is without the “ears” and spices, but will often have beans in it instead. I love both the casual and the Christmassy type of borsch, but the Christmassy is better and it feels so hearty and it has a very characteristic taste.
A drink that I strongly associate with winter is also kisiel. Kisiel is made of fruit and it like a sort of jelly, only more liquid and thick, which you can either eat with a spoon or drink, and it’s best when warm. You can get it as an instant product but you can also make it yourself especially from things like preserves or jams, which is what my Mum does. I’m sure that for most Poles there is no connotation between kisiel and winter, but my Mum always makes her kisiel around Christmas and I absolutely love it. It is a very warming drink. Kisiel is often given to people who have some tummy troubles, as long as they can eat fruit, because it’s very light and also oliquid as I said, I remember when my grandad was recovering from colon cancer surgery he was drinking it very often. My Mum’s winter kisiel always has cloves, cinnamon and the like in it.
Also anything really that contains things like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, chilli and the like is a good winter fit in my opinion.
But I absolutely love spicy food, and I can’t imagine eating it only in winter. Which is why chilli in particular I’m happy to eat all year round. Same about other equally hot spices like kalonji and such, which I don’t associate solely with winter like I do ginger for example. Ginger is very much a wintry spice in our household, chilli rules all the time.
I’m not particularly big on stews so they aren’t my thing neither in winter nor at any other time, however it’s not like I don’t eat them at all, it’s just not something I’d be a huge fan of.
How does it look like in your case? 🙂