Sticky Notes - Hygge Mealtimes
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Hygge Mealtimes

January 11, 2023 by Emily Moore

Cozy Hygge (HOO-gah) Family Dinners

  • Why wouldn't the candle light  up? Because it couldn't find it's match!
  • All jokes aside, doesn't a candlelit dinner sound TEALIGHT-ful!

Hygge (HOO-gah) – the inherently Danish philosophy of a sort of "conscious coziness" – has taken the world by storm in recent years as many strain to understand just why it is that Danes – despite living in a perpetually gray, cloudy, and wet climate – are some of the world’s happiest people.

I’m curious, too. So, I got a copy of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by author and happiness researcher Meik Wiking. What a charming little book! And it’s got me dreaming about putting hygge concepts into practice in our home this winter, especially when it comes to meals. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Create a Hygge Atmosphere

Whether your aesthetic is modern, traditional, or somewhere in between, incorporating homey elements can turn everyday meals into cozy experiences – and you don’t need to spend a nickel to do it. Dim the lights, light a candle, and if you have cloth napkins, go ahead and use them! Kids might enjoy gathering a few elements of nature for the table – flowers, pinecones, or stones – whatever catches their interest. Oh, and remember to put away the devices! 

Make Meals Together

Another way to invite more hygge into the home is to make seasonal, nourishing meals. And here’s something that caught my attention: apparently, Danes often invite friends over to cook with them instead of for them. It spreads out the work and lets everyone slow down and spend more time with people they care about. What a great idea! Curry Coconutty Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese Roll-Up Bites would fit the bill.

Of course, it’s not always practical to cook a meal from scratch. Some days you just need to get something on the table! That’s where grazing boards come in (total hygge!). I try to keep the basics on hand so I can throw a board together when I’m short on time or don’t feel like cooking. My staples are cheese, crackers, nuts, and fresh, seasonal produce – (apples, citrus, radishes, fresh berries…). Go with what you like and what’s locally available. (Find more grazing board ideas here!). 

Enjoy a Sweet

Do you know what really dials up the hygge? Dessert! The country’s namesake breakfast pastry hints at the cultural importance of confections. In fact, Danes consume more candy per capita than anyone else in the world (yes, including Americans!) For a crowd-pleasing, sweet path to hygge, try Cozy Cranberry Carrot Cinnamon Rolls + Cran-Cinnamony Drizzle + Frosty Frozen Cranberry Yogurt. 

I’ll be heading back to the library soon to check out Wiking’s latest book, My Hygge Home: How to Make Your Home Your Happy Place.​​​​​​​


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