Hot beverages, actually.
Maybe it's my Italian Grandmother genetic heritage, but anytime something big happens, to me or to others, food is one of the first things I reach for. When a baby is born, I make the mother two nights of frozen dinners. When somebody is in distress, I usually offer something sweet, or a pot of tea...
I was reminded of this today when something very bad happened to a stranger in need, and in the process of helping her, I wound up serving her tea.
Many psychologists and dieticians say that emotional eating is bad, even though we all do it, but, I've found that hot beverages, like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, can be just as comforting as a bowl of ice cream, but without the caloric drawbacks.
Hot beverages provide tangible physical comfort. Tension in muscles is eased by the heat of the liquid. Nasal passages open up from the steam, and cold symptoms and congestion are relieved. The entire body is warmed by the liquid. And the aroma, flavor--and sometimes texture--of the beverage is enjoyed and improves mood.
Other cultures--ancient cultures, know this. When a world-weary visitor shows up on a doorstep looking for rest, they're given a place to sit, a meal, and a lovely beverage.
We would all do well to remember these ancient rituals of hospitality this holiday season, and try to put them into practice when we can. Not only for our friends and family, but also for strangers, enemies, or people we simply don't like all that well.
Here's a cute little article about Tea and Hospitality that I found on the web. I sincerely hope you all enjoy it.