For some of us winter means playing in the snow, schussing down a mountain, or enjoying a cross-country glide through woods; for others the wintry months equate to shivering with each outdoor endeavor, swearing at the snow shovel, and cursing out meteorologists for sub-zero temperatures. Either way, each cohort shares the love of huddling up close to a fire, sipping hot cocoa (possibly spiked), and/or noshing down some comfort food to warm the body and soul.

When shorter periods of daylight and cold temperatures restrict our outdoor activities, it gives us the opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen tapping into our creative and experimental sides of our brain. Staying warm in the process—bonus!

Trying some new, tasty recipes that respectively use butternut squash, chourico, and the ever-popular dill pickle will take you out of your torpor and into a winter wonderland of tastes and aromas.

Run out of a staple in the creation process? Our In a Pinch article provides simple substitution solutions for 30 different ingredients, so no need to bundle up and brave the elements if you run out of an ingredient. Winter is also a time to peek into our spice cabinets and vegetable bins to see what we have to brew soothing teas, stave off winter colds, and quell that chill.

Of course, if you do have to venture out, our Local Provisions column highlights four warmth-generating items to make that fire glow from within.

And if you’re not traveling anywhere this winter, our Locavore Abroad column will transport you to warmer months in northwestern Switzerland and the centuries-old La Fete de la Tete de Moine cheese festival.

As New Englanders, we know that each season has its own unique personality that creates an abundance of memories and experiences. Winter asks us to hunker down and find warmth with family, friends, and food. So get that fire roaring and some bone-warming soup cooking and gather around a table (near the fire), and enjoy the coziness of huddling together with loved ones and delicious food all season long.

Eat thoughtfully,

Terry Vandewater, Assistant Editor

Laurie Hepworth & Michael Hart