Introducing 26Grains on The Concept of Hygge
Over to Alex:
“ ‘Hygge’ is a word that evokes warmth, cosiness, and togetherness, everything I believe a bowl of porridge to be’.
Hygge is what you make of it. It is not a concrete act or moment, but more doing something that makes you happy or content. Hygge isn’t something you strive for, but more something you realise in hindsight. Although I didn’t know it at the time, for me, Hygge stemmed out of my childhood memories of porridge. Cooking breakfast everyday for five kids under ten years old should have been a crazy affair; it was. But it meant we came together every morning to enjoy porridge as a family before going our separate ways for the day. At 26 Grains, we try to replicate this feeling of togetherness and comfort with every dish we serve.
Hygge existed in Copenhagen long before I discovered it; Danish writings about Hygge date back to the 1800s. But it was only when I spent a year living there did I come to understand what Hygge means to me. The Danes are incredible at baking; everyday they would create mouth-watering smells of freshly baked bread and pastries across the city. Copenhagen is well known for its multitude of tiny cafes with even tinier menus that can deliver the most delicious and creative food. It is this Danish love of food and baking with minimal ingredients that taught me never to underestimate the power of simplicity. This simplicity is present in everything at 26 Grains; each combination of flavour and texture is considered to create the perfect, simple dish.
That being said, Hygge is not limited to food; it is everywhere in the Danish quality of life and means something different to everybody. It could be the feeling of new sheets or a hot bath after a cold morning walk; Hygge is a very personal thing. Food is my Hygge. I associate it especially with the sensation of wrapping my hands around a steaming bowl of porridge, cooking in my own kitchen or going out to eat.
The 26 Grains cookbook is a way to enjoy my experiences – Copenhagen, cooking in the shop, cooking at home and with friends – through recipes; it is an opportunity to take a little bit of 26 Grains home with you. The book will give you a greater understanding of grains and how to use them in different ways with simple ingredients to create comforting dishes. But the book is also about sharing my experiences of cooking with friends and sharing that feeling of Hygge that I have when I cook.
Alex's beautiful book '26Grains' is available to buy here and I couldn't recommend it more. And if you are visiting London, you must make time to drop in to her gorgeous new shop to sample her dishes. For more of Alex's news, follow her on twitter and instagram @26Grains, or check out her website.
And if you love the concept of Hygge, it will be at the heart of my retreat in France. Find out more here.