I have been writing cookbooks of Danish food. To whet appetites, I have written two Kindle books (Feeding your Family and Friends with Love and Hyggelig, published in December and February respectively, which can be read on any electronic device using the free Kindle app). I’ve grown up in the Midwest (Illinois) as a Danish-American. Somehow I am both American and Danish. And that I love.
From the start it was clear that I would combine teaching about both Danish food and the Danish predilection for hygge/hyggelig. Both are critical to convey the experience that I desire. While studying, experimenting, cooking, baking, testing, teaching and developing my own brand of Danish food for Americans, there has been an amazing synchronicity: the world has been coming to learn about this most distinct Danish feature of hygge!
Danish winters are long, cold and dark. Hygge was invented to aid survival. Collins explains this with a perfect dictionary entry: “the practice of creating cozy and congenial environments that promote emotional wellbeing.” (Hygge is the noun, while hyggelig is the adjective.)
Indeed lovely: to be both comfortable and well! Much of our lack of wellbeing is due to being uncomfortable. For example: talking to a boss about something difficult, cleaning up errant dog waste from the carpet, explaining why the bill was paid late… you know! All these little (and big) items cause us discomfort.
Well, hygge is about caring for oneself while living one’s life. It is not about buying things. It is about creating an environment that supports a person well—that removes stress. This covers all domains: one’s home, office and heart. It is also about caring for the people you love, and being present and in relationship with them.
Most everyone lives very full lives and the thought of adding to an already-too-long to-do list might not sound appealing. Yet, hygge truly is a simple concept – enjoying the simple pleasures of everyday life. To that end, I write “hacks” – simple ideas for us to ponder and perchance to embrace. My first pointer is to play. Play sounds like fun. But for a person like me who is constantly concerned about what I am accomplishing, play doesn’t exactly come naturally! I can appreciate a little practice in that area.
So I’ll start this week with the concept of play. Sprinkled between these emotion- and action-based hacks, I will introduce some of the delicious food I have been developing for the future cookbook. Which reminds me: I must run upstairs now to shape my loaf of bread. Tonight, by candlelight, we’ll drink beer and enjoy brie cheese with hot-from-the-oven bread.
Does that not sound hyggelig?
Please let me know what you think: write me at Box27@HyggeligSmushies.com
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