The Wonderful World of Hygge

Like all of you, I am a lover of words. Sometimes I get a kick in the pants by the way a word sounds. Who can resist saying Zimbabwe? Other times a word wins my heart based on its meaning, like the word lagniappe. And then there are words like hygge (pronounced hue-gah).

Who else but the Danish would come up with a word that explains so much about something so minimal, yet all-encompassing? This word has become popular in the US over the past couple of years, probably because so many of us are searching for calmness, coziness, and peace. I knew when I first read about it, I would be eager to find out more about the whole idea.

As everyone already knows, hygge is a word that defines a particular feeling, ambience, or state of being that assists those who live in places where winter evenings can begin at 4:00 o’clock and snow is pretty much continual make it through the dark periods.

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The juicy part is all the things that come together to make hygge happen. Allow me to share some of the ways it is explained:

  • a feeling
  • a mental state
  • coziness
  • well-being
  • candlelight
  • warm food
  • family-time
  • the manner in which people behave towards one another
  • intimacy
  • comradery
  • conviviality
  • contentment
  • gratitude
  • festivity
  • food-making

The idea, the word, the concept draws me in. If you’re thinking about reading a great book in front of a fire while covered in a furry throw and drinking hot chocolate with your dog by your side, then you’ve gotten the point. Maybe hygge does have something to do with the fact that Denmark normally makes it to the top of the “happiest places to live” list. But we all know that happiness rarely comes from outward objects, settings, or food. Still, count me as one who is going to get deep into the hygge movement this year. Want to join in?

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Percolate

Oh, my goodness, another word I love! I can see my mom getting the coffee percolator filled with water, putting the ground beans in the sieve-like container, and pushing the container onto the metal rod that held it upright. Ours looked almost exactly like this one.5201119_rdpercolater

It was the small glass component on the top that fascinated me as a child. The coffee rose and fell, and was visible within the glass ball on top as it brewed.

There was never any question that it would be perking away when I walked into the kitchen, dressed for my first-grade class. The smell was hypnotic and its dependable presence made me feel safe somehow.

My mom had a habit that I have not noticed anyone else possessing. She liked to dip her toast into her morning “cuppa Joe” and would sometimes let me have a taste of her coffee-soaked bread. The flavor I remember, as I remember it, has a strong association with feeling loved.

The cups mom used were thick and sturdy, not quite white in color but not beige. They looked like this:

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She put one teaspoon of sugar in her coffee and a dab of cream – real cream. In the winter, when the milkman left his delivery  on the back porch, the bottle would freeze from time-to-time and the portion that rose out of the frozen bottle was cream, I believe.

For most of my life, I did not drink coffee very often. But now, having coffee in the mornings with my husband is one of the happiest and most peaceful times of the day. It’s during these pleasant morning rituals that I remember my mother most.

Lemons

This week, my son-in-law brought me a large bowl full of lemons. Now, I live in Mississippi , and I have never seen a fruit-bearing lemon tree in this state, so to say I was surprised when he brought me this lovely citrus from a tree near his house would be a huge understatement. I was delighted and began to fish for recipes I could make and freeze for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

My Lovely Lemons page on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/gebbysmith123/lovely-lemons/) is filled with lemon delights, so I found myself drooling over many choices that would be perfect for holiday yummies.

Chocolate is my favorite, but there are times when nothing will do but something lemony. So please allow me to share with you three of the sweet concoctions I chose for using my serendipitous lagniappe.

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The first is from  http://fattaincassa.blogspot.com/2014/04/white-chocolate-lemon-truffles.html# and is easy, delicious, and decadent. Lemon truffles fit right into my plan because they are easy to make and can be frozen for future use. Really this is one of the best-bang-for-the-buck recipes I have come upon in quite awhile.

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So I’m scrolling down my Pinterest page and I see that I was smart enough to have pinned this fabulous recipe published by Rose Thomas of The Londoner (http://www.thelondoner.me/2013/06/lemon-drizzle-cake-sorry-starbucks.html). Am I the only one who cannot get enough of Starbucks Lemon Pound Cake? I didn’t think so. Rose says this version is BETTER than Starbucks. It can also stand up to being in the freezer for a short time.Oh, my goodness!

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And what would a lemon orgy be without the ever-popular lemon bar? For this delicious holiday selection, I chose these easy, peasy lemon squeezy lemon bars from Oh My Sprinkles! (http://ohmysprinkles.com/easy-cake-mix-lemon-bars-recipe/) Inspired by Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake, these bars look absolutely scrumptious.

Hope you like my choices. Let me know if you have a favorite lemon holiday recipe!