Lisa Abraham

I put the kettle on to boil and told my husband that I needed to make myself a cup of comfort.

When the days are particularly cold or troublesome, we always seem to reach for a cup of something warm to steam out the wrinkles of life.

Fans of the television show The Big Bang Theory know that even the socially inept Dr. Sheldon Cooper offers his friends a warm beverage when they are troubled or ailing.

We expect a lot from a warm mug.

A funeral director I know once told me that the mark of a good caterer was one who always had the coffee hot and waiting when the family returned from the cemetery. I thought he was being a bit dramatic, but I do think he was on to something.

We down cups of coffee in hospital waiting rooms.

We share tea and a sympathetic ear (and maybe a bit of gossip, too) when our friends are in need.

We warm our children with hot cocoa when they come in from the cold and watch as they go about the very serious business of counting to see who has more marshmallows or the better foamy mustache.

And we soothe our ailing bodies with a cup of steamy chicken broth.

I have a friend whose mother always served her Vernor’s Ginger Ale, heated, when she had the flu. “You need warm Vernor’s,” she advises when someone has a head cold or a stomachache. Of course, she’s from Detroit where Vernor’s was invented.

This is also the same friend who maintains that a cup of chamomile tea will cure everything from a bellyache to a skin rash.

Her advice conflicts with that of my late aunt, who always maintained that mint tea solved all ills.

We all have our particular favorites for the job of curing what ails us and soothing our souls.

This is definitely the time of year when we can use some comfort in a cup. The weather has been on a roller coaster. Sunny and 40 degrees one day, snowing and 15 the next.

Take heart. February is just hours away from being over. Spring will be here exactly three weeks from today.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that it won’t still be snowing or we won’t still have the flu. But we can always fortify ourselves with a nice warm mug, like this one:

HOT SPICED TODDY

1 cup boiling water

1 cinnamon spice or orange spice tea bag

1 to 2 tbsp. honey, to taste

Squeeze of lemon, to taste

1 oz. whiskey or bourbon, optional

1 cinnamon stick

Steep tea bag in boiling water. Add honey, lemon and whiskey, if using, and stir with cinnamon stick.

Makes 1 serving.

— Lisa Abraham

Lisa Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or at labraham@thebeaconjournal.com. Find me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @akronfoodie or visit my blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/lisa.