The best kind of rain, of course, is a cozy rain. This is the kind the anonymous medieval poet makes me remember, the rain that falls on a day when you’d just as soon stay in bed a little longer, write letters or read a good book by the fire, take early tea with hot scones and jam and look out the streaked window with complacency.
~Susan Allen Toth, England For All Seasons
rain has returned to my city. the sun has taken a little holiday to recover from the streak of sunny, hot weather we have been having, and the rain has come home for a few days to take stock of the situation. i first noticed the weather on my way to the sunday market. it suddenly occurred to me that the the air smelled like rain, and sure enough, the clouds started rolling in. despite being a life-long resident of my rainy city, i retreated indoors, as i was ill equipped for the rain, and without an umbrella. plunging into the low-sixties, and with rain falling off and on throughout the day, i busied myself indoors, chasing a cozy sunday.
the first step to having a cozy autumn sunday, any time of year it seems, is to reapply your pajamas and find a fuzzy, warm, blanket. my favorite was a wedding gift from my husband: silk paisly lined with a very soft fuzzy material normally reserved for baby blankets. and, in fact, the blanket came from a woman who specializes in baby blankets, but happened to have a couple adult sized blankets on hand. you must take the blanket somewhere comfortable and prepare to settle in.
of course, synonymous with cozy is to be warm and have a cup of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea for sipping on. whatever keeps you cozy on a day when the rain is falling outside, and you have no need of going out in it. autumn blends of teas with spices, or cranberry flavors, sipping chocolates, or hot chocolate, or warm milk and coffee mixed together. on this particular cozy sunday, i picked a few sprigs of mints and some of my chamomile flowers to make a relaxing tea for my husband while he studied in his office.
it is also important to leave the curtains open, so you can feel extra warm when you think about being outside. turn off overhead lights and turn on your lamps and candles, to give the room soft lighting, and a reading lamp, for the next step could include a book! after being cozy for a while, sipping a warm drink and nestling into your fuzzy blanket, you may find need of some comforting entertainment. i find a well-loved book, or favorite movie will do the trick. something that reminds you of warmth, happiness, and family. something with a profoundly happy ending, that never fails to give you a warm feeling no matter how many times you have read or watched it. i especially love to read childhood classics, like anne of green gables or little women, which are books i read over the long winters, nestled in a corner of my room with a snack and a warm drink. reading these on a rainy, sunday afternoon takes me back to the happiest days of my childhood.
in the summer time, my husband and i like to eat fresh salads, grill vegetables and meats, and dine of fresh fruits. we love to take advantage of the bounty of the season! so most of my “cozy” foods are reserved for the autumn and wintertime. my husband, during a break from his work, reminded me that we had both been so busy, neither of us had enjoyed a cozy, home cooked meal. i absolutely love pasta with marinara on rainy days, coupled with a glass of red wine. cooking a hearty, warm meal when it’s nasty outdoors is the ultimate in cozy. i love the feeling that we can stay indoors all day long, being self-sufficient, enjoying warmth juxtaposed with the cold, and dreary day outside our little home. it is easy to love life when the sun is out, and inviting, but on rainy afternoons, we have to build our own warmth.
still, having access to a bounty of summer herbs was certainly helpful on this particular rainy sunday! i gathered globe and sweet basil, parsley, and oregano from our little window box herb garden. i chopped onions and garlic and sauteed these with the herbs in olive oil, and added canned whole plum tomatoes after giving them a rough chop. i found fresh made alphabet pasta in my freezer, and cooked it up with salt, and what we ended up with was an adult version of spaghetti-o’s, which was just perfect for our cozy meal. on cozy days i forgo laying a table, and we take our dinner on the couch, enjoying a movie together.
rainy day quick and chunky adult spaghettios!
1 can of whole peeled plum tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1/2 cup water
various fresh herbs, preferably from your window box herb garden! including various basils, parsley, oregano, etc.
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 an onion (or whole! if you prefer)
fresh alphabet pasta
1 tablespoon of orange marmalade (preferably homemade and spicy)
fresh mozzarella or parmesan cheese (or both, if you feel like it!)
boil 1 gallon of water for pasta. once the water boils, and a handful of salt
heat olive oil in another pot
chop the herbs, garlic, and onions and saute them in the olive oil
roughly chop the tomatoes, and add tomato paste and chopped tomatoes to the herbs, garlic and onions
simmer, add salt and pepper to taste
boil pasta, rinse and drain
add 1 tablespoon of marmalade to sauce, mix in well and allow it to simmer.
serve up the pasta in bowls, mix in sauce individually. top with freshly grated cheese and enjoy with a good movie and your sweetheart.
most of my friends lamented the pause in our summer time. though i was initially sad, in the end, i welcomed the preview of fall. i began to think of dinner parties, family gatherings, and my favorite seasonal dishes. in the summer, our little home is far too warm to consider cooking indoors, or having too many people for dinner. i began to think of the thousand tiny details of my favorite annual events, baking, and having time to do those things that summer engagements have not allowed for. now i am excited for what lies next!