It’s beginning to be the time for warming, comforting, substantial food: casseroles and stews, hearty soups and roasts. Although we don’t hibernate, we still respond to shortening days and colder weather, feeling the need to store some fat to tide us over the leaner months to come.
The trouble is, they never do come, not in these days of endless abundance. Once upon a time, having enough body fat might have made the difference between life and death at the end of a long, hard winter, but those days are long gone.
Yet even with central heating and an indoor life to cushion us, it still doesn’t feel right to live on salads in wintertime
But there are plenty of ways in which we can make our winter fare more ‘healthy’, while still looking after the craving for warmth. And of course, herbs and spices are part of the answer. As well as adding to the taste, they help you digest fats, and can make foods like beans and brassicas – the cabbage family, once a winter staple before large-scale importing of food – more accessible too.
But you need more than just a pinch of thyme or oregano, a bay leaf or a grating of horseradish. Think about Asian cuisine; a sophisticated approach to food that sees the spices, and the particular mix for each dish, as central to the whole thing rather than just an add-on.