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One thing I love about this time of year is the cold, the way little puffs of “smoke” float out of your mouth and mingle with with the wintery air. Wearing legwarmers and warm cuddly clothes, holding hot tea in your freezing hands, the crackling fire and mulled wine add to my favourite season.

But I have to admit that a big part of my seasonal joy comes from eating porridge in the morning. I know many people have issues with the hot, mushy, oaty breakfast but I wouldn’t want to miss it as it is more than just some good healthy nourishment, it is comfort food … a big hot hug from within!

We all know that food does more than give us vitamins, protein and minerals, it nourishes us emotionally too. And recently when the hurricane hit the east coast of the USA the United States Coast Guard acknowledged this by advising people to stock up on comfort/stress foods. Due to the lack of electricity they did only list “cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops and even instant coffee, and tea bag” but a recent poll showed that the list could have included apple pie, baked beans, beef stew, chicken soup, fried chicken, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, pot roast, pudding, pumpkin pie, tomato soup, and tuna casserole.

These are all food that tend to remind us of our childhood, reawaken memories of happy times and moments spent in joy. To me porridge reminds me of those cold wintery mornings as a little girl, longing for Christmas and living in a world filled with magical possibilities.

So my love of this time of year is partially down to porridge, the hot, slightly sweeten kind (I use raisins) mind you as there are few things worse than cold stodgy porridge.