Winter Wonderland

What do you think of when you hear the words “winter wonderland”? Does the song come to mind? Do you start singing “walking in a winter wonderland”? Maybe you are one of those who looks forward to curling up with seasonal movies on television and your thoughts go there. Some may envision Disney-like sparkles and twinkling things and dancers and caroling and nutcrackers. Some think of cozy mittens and snow angels and hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts.

Some may live in a less fairy-inspired world and simply think of the comforts associated with finding warmth in the face of so much cold. We think of warm cider and crackling fires and cinnamon smells. And we think of comfort foods: big pots of who-knows-what, simmering for hours and scooped into heavy bowls of pure goodness. We think of pies and cookies and casseroles.

Face it, for some of us the epitome of a winter wonderland is grounded in, around and through FOOD. I am one of those people. I have food for getting ready to shovel the snow and for after it is shoveled. I have food for bringing in the firewood and for sitting in front of the fire. I have finger food for curling up in a cozy blanket and fine food for a festive table. I have warm hors d’oeuvres to serve before the actual food is served. I bake breads and cakes and puddings and pies. And what I don’t bake, I buy. And what I make or bake or buy, I eat. And in the chill of winter, I dearly savor every delicious bite.

I love winter. In my wonderland, I am totally and completely free. I can catch snowflakes on my tongue and slide awkwardly on ice or plop myself into a snow bank. I never have a bad hair day because we all wear hats and share the same hat-head hairdo. I can stay in the cold until my cheeks are red or warm my butt in front of a fire or warm my hands around a mug of hot buttered rum.

I think we work harder in the winter and laugh louder…and we certainly eat better and more. Who would think of a cold, crisp salad on a frigid winter’s day? Our soups are thick and rich. Our breads are crusty and dense. Our drinks are warm and aromatic. Perhaps to balance the numbness of the cold, we are drawn to a sort of sensory overload. (I’m only guessing, you understand. There is no science here.) But consider, if you will, that we use words such as: snuggle, cozy, fleece, creamy, rich, warm, fragrant and flickering. We cook with cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves and rosemary and thyme. (Oh, yeah. I think I’m on to something with the sensory thing.)

But I think the real proof of this non-scientific perusal through my personal winter wonderland is the actual scientifically proven fashion requirement called “layering.” Yep! A lightweight shirt topped with a heavier-weight shirt, topped with a vest, topped with a jacket. You really have to love whoever figured this out. You can color coordinate all you want. You can mix or match textures. You can mimic Vogue or Lumberjack Weekly. It doesn’t matter as long as you “layer” your clothing; you are doing exactly what the experts recommend.

Now, let me suggest that under all those layers no one will notice the extra butter on the fresh-from-the-oven bread or the extra large bowl of broccoli cheese soup or the handful of warm snicker-doodles or the second slice of cinnamon/apple/pumpkin pie. Can you say freedom?! And thank you to the layering gurus!

Therefore, it is at this time of year, exactly and precisely at this time of year, every year, that I ask myself, “What am I doing in Florida?” Or Georgia, or Alabama, or South Carolina… (continued) to read more click here.

 

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