Some time ago, I realized that I was often using food to deal with anxiety and stress. I can’t say I’ve gotten out of that habit totally, but I know the symptoms now and can deal with them a bit better. One way is to read about food instead. I’m sure I’m not the only one who takes cookbooks to read in bed.
Better than most cookbooks though are fine writings about food. Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink  is a collection of essays, short stories, poems and cartoons with food as a theme that have appeared in the New Yorker magazine. It’s quite a hefty tome, at around 600 pages, and is one to savor in bits like a box of chocolates.
(I sort of wonder why this book hasn’t gotten more publicity, since it was just published in October. I guess I don’t understand how and why publishers put a lot of PR muscle behind some books and not others.)
Or how about a subscription, or even a single issue, of Alimentum , “the only literary review all about food”. I’ve written about it before  ; the new winter 2007 issue just came, and it’s as good as the previous issues, including cover art that is so nice I want to hang it on my wall.
I’ve also been listening a lot these days to one CD - it’s not Christmas music, but the soundtrack for Rick Stein’s French Odyssey . This aired a couple of years ago on the BBC (I also loved his Mediterranean Escapes  series that aired this year). There was one tune on the show that I couldn’t get out of my head, the French Cook. I Googled around looking for the CD, and found it on this site , but the price was bit high for me - £12.99. (Yes I also looked around for not quite lawful sources, but couldn’t find it). But oh joy, it’s available on the iTunes store for only $9.99! Here’s the iTunes link for the US store  and and the link for the UK store  (it’s £7.99 there). It puts me right into a Southern France kind of mood, and makes me want to pull out my Michelin maps to plan our next trip there. I think it may carry me through the cold grey days of January and February.