It’s sentimental and usually high caloric, heavy with carbohydrates and simple to prepare. It’s that dish you want when you are sick, or hurt or lonely or just need a connection to family or to a culture. Comfort food varies around the globe, with scents and flavors bringing back fond memories of warmth and simple abundance.

For me, a vat of steamy mashed potatoes smothered in butter, or a giant serving of homemade macaroni and cheese sprinkled with parmesan cheese on top always chases away the blues even when I’m dining solo. Another favorite, chicken pot pie—that savory mix of chicken and fresh vegetables enveloped by a flaky crust—usually revives me when I’m battling the flu.

Carbohydrate-rich Italian pasta dishes are a perfect follow-up to a fantastic day on the slopes, and a glass of red wine and spaghetti and meatballs or fettucine alfredo served in front of a roaring fi re give some people the strength to make it through another bitter January snowstorm. Hearty soups and stews like bourbon & steak chili can warm the coldest heart and are easy to make in large quantities for yummy lunch left overs. If mid-February makes you feel a bit homesick for summertime on the coast of Maine, nothing but a classic creamy lobster bisque or crispy fish and chips will do. When you’re looking to warm up, a savory slice of meat-loaf will take away that winter chill and tastes great when accompanied by a local ale.

Maybe it’s companionship you’re craving—cheese fondue requires a group of friends gathered around the fondue pot spearing a selection of meats and bread cubes with multi-colored forks to simmer in hot oil, a very social miniature cooking competition with penalties for dropped morsels. And who can go wrong with dessert fondue? Anything with melted chocolate and strawberries is a sure cure for cranky and is always best when shared.

So, come out of the cold and let Park City’s restaurants cook up some comfort tonight!