Snow was not special when we lived in Vermont or Rhode Island or New Jersey. But it was for the more than six years that we lived in San Francisco. (It was forecasted once but never happened.) Now that we live in southwestern Ohio, almost at the Kentucky border, it is neither novel nor ubiquitous. It is met with the understanding that it will appear and then melt away once or twice a year. For us, though, the four or so inches that fell during the last few days were positively exciting, especially because it was the only snow this year that has been wet enough for making Elinor’s first snowman. Out in the poultry yard, the snow did not phase the ducks. They walked in it, rested in it, laid their large eggs in it. But the chickens avoided it like a pool of molten lava, either attempting to fly high above until their stamina gave way or camping out in the coop—at least until hearing the familiar tap, tap, tap on the food
Category Archives: Winter
I have been meaning to give you this recipe for a few weeks. Not yet having done so, I find myself in the unusual state of hoping winter will stay and chill us just a few days longer, until I can share this recipe with you. As such, my heart saddened a little as I saw the pale pink blossoms while walking with Elinor through the park a few days ago. But I was fortified to see the daffodils with their green blades still merely stretching for the clear, blue sky, not yet smiling up at us with their open-topped top-hat blossoms. A false prediction of snow last night, what would have been the first in 35 years in San Francisco, was also encouraging. So I have made it, pushing the “publish” button while it is still a nippy 40 degrees outside,
Oregon—Portland, specifically—is home. Growing up, it meant summer afternoons spent picking from neat rows of small, glossy strawberries or tangles of blackberries, which left my hands stained purple and forearms stinging from crosshatched scratches. In the winter, we would trudge up snowy forest roads deep into the Mt. Hood National Forest, insulated bottles of hot chocolate (and the requisite permit) in tow, until we found the perfect Christmas tree. The ocean, mountains, high desert, and idyllic pastureland were all within an hour or two, and we took advantage of them all.
Originally known as “Ouragon,” Oregon is beautiful country, but I left it in 1998 in exchange for a state known
Transporting butter across state lines with the intent to combine with intoxicating liquors. Not a crime, but it should be, given how balmy and festive hot buttered rums are, particularly when made with homemade butter. They are just the thing whether the thunder is shaking the house on a wet Oregon Coast night (our experience the last few days) or the heavy, white clouds are laying down their fifth foot of snow today or you are all together at last. Pick up a bottle of serious rum and mash together the base, most of the ingredients for which you likely have on hand. Then wrap yourself in a downy blanket, cue my favorite Christmas song, and sip away. Happy Christmas, gentle readers.
My love affair with dairy fat has been going on for at least three decades behind metals beaters pirouetted in pillows of cream and slippery pieces of butter-stained paper.
As it turns out, my earliest memory in the kitchen is of the most famed dairy fat of all—butter. I am standing at my grandmother’s refrigerator, its long, almond-colored right door pushed back entirely, reaching on my tiptoes for a stick of butter. Curling my little fingers over the smooth, vellum-like wrapping, I persevere until I nudge it off the shelf and onto the floor. I rescue the austere little package from the linoleum and pull back paper slowly, expectantly, and hold the slick sheet in one hand and the pale yellow brick in the other.