Remarkably, I’m still not sick of winter. I have used the snow and cold to keep me inside for some much-needed downtime. Once the weather warms up, I’m too busy to think.
Here it is another snowy Monday morning. I’m grateful for plenty of wood to keep the house warm and cozy.
Once again, allow me to lapse into smugness. I put up plenty of food last summer so I am enjoying hanging over a hot range preparing those foods. I am rapidly emptying the freezer and filling the space with loaves of bread. Every time I make bread I toss several loaves into the freezer for summer.
I still remember how hot and humid it gets in July — and not fondly. There is no cooking on those days. A quick grilled cheese on homemade bread is a welcome end to a busy work week.
I heard half a segment on NPR about popcorn. Some kernels were discovered in an Aztec tomb over 4,000 years old. They still popped. Wow! I guess that bag I discovered at the back of my pantry is still good. The extremely hard shell on an individual kernel holds in the moisture indefinitely. When heated, it behaves like a miniature pressure cooker and eventually explodes.
Apparently during the Great Depression, popcorn was extremely cheap so it became the snack of choice. I remember growing up eating it several times weekly. I don’t know why I forget to make it more often.
Speaking of corn, all last summer I watched a single corn plant grow and mature at the little triangle right at the entrance to the West Tisbury cemetery. Last week, it was still standing all alone in the snow, completely dry and dead.
Often when I grow corn, I leave it standing all winter. There is something comforting about it rustling in the wind. I read a book about Harriet Tubman years ago. She picked a few ears left all winter in cornfields on one of her many trips north out of slavery.
I’ve been catching up on my reading, actually getting to sections of the newspaper I usually skim. One of my favorite columnists (next to Gail Collins) is Frank Bruni. He had an article a week or so ago in the dining section of the New York Times titled A Taste You Hate? Just Wait. It was very interesting and was about people’s aversion to certain foods. When a person ages they become more open and (hopefully) find those hated foods from childhood enjoyable. Wonder when my children will ever like spaghetti squash?
He says there are two important morals: first, an ostracized vegetable may simply be a vegetable that hasn’t met the right cook or cooking method; second, bacon redeems everything. You could pair it with Putin and he’d be in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Just the thought of Vladimir Putin and the developing crisis in the Crimea takes me back to my elementary school days at the Earl J. Hyatt School in Rew, Pa. It was in the mid 1950s when we children were convinced that ducking under the cover of our desks would protect us from a nuclear holocaust unleashed by the Soviet Union. Oh, for those days of innocence. I think the teachers and our parents actually believed it.
I remember my dad saying after 9/11, “Nuke ‘em.” I responded with “Nuke who, Dad?” He said, “All of ‘em.”
I wish these memories did not come to me at a time like this. I must confess . . . once again, where are we? And did we get here in a handbasket?
I will take comfort in those immortal words uttered during the London Blitz: Keep calm and carry on.