I’ve been waiting patiently for at least a semblance of fall weather to arrive. I hate the years when I don’t get to wear my sweaters and boots. I’m at an age where I look way better if I am covered in layers of clothing. Turtlenecks hide the sagging in my neck and boots with skinny jeans make me appear to be way thinner that I actually am. Besides, I really don’t like wearing flip flops and Hawaiian shirts to the Thanksgiving feast. I much prefer winter gear for those occasions. I’m trying to get into a festive holiday mood and these eighty degree days just aren’t taking me there. I want spice tea and pumpkin pie and yummy soup, but who eats that way when the sun is still beating down?
Today I’m going to the Nutcracker Market with my sister-in-law, Allison. I love, love that annual affair and hated that I had to miss it last year. It’s way more fun if there is a little nip in the air. The cold weather makes those tamales that I always purchase for lunch taste so much better and I can excuse myself for enjoying wine while I shop by insisting that it I need it to stay warm. I may as well be at the beach if it’s still hot outside. No matter how much I attempt to convince myself that Christmas is coming it just seems silly when the weather is warm.
I’m one of those people who actually enjoys frigid days. I am a bit jealous of my grandson, Andrew, who is already experiencing twenty seven degree weather in Indiana. I fully understand that snow and ice would no doubt get rather old when I had to make a pathway to get out of my driveway but I just don’t get much opportunity to use all of that lovely winter clothing that I see in the LL Bean catalog that comes to my house about this time each year. Just for once I would so love to wear a coat on my birthday and have a fire in the hearth.
I only know two other people who totally love winter weather the way I do. One is my daughter, Catherine, and the other is a teacher friend named Gerald. I’m certain that both of them are getting as anxious for the cold stuff as I am. I’m weary of hearing predictions of sixty degree daytime temperatures that never seem to pan out. In fact, I’ve begun to wonder what’s up with the weather people of late. They don’t seem to be getting much right at all.
I can’t believe that anyone is actually dubious about global warming. I know from my almost sixty seven years on this earth in this city that we usually turned on our heaters way earlier and far more often that we do now. In fact, that was one of the best parts of November. It heralded chilly nights and cold mornings and our heater purred all through the night.
Honestly my winter wardrobe will last forever because I so rarely get to use some of the items that I own. I usually end up giving away sweaters only because they are hopelessly out of style. I haven’t changed sizes in years which I’m not bragging about because I really should lose a few pounds but that’s a whole different story. Each October I take out my woolens and hope against hope that this will finally be the year when I get to use them.
I suppose that somehow I have the DNA of a northerner. Maybe it comes from my maternal grandparents who lived in colder climes over in Europe or from my paternal grandfather who spoke of cutting chunks of ice from the lake near his boyhood home to use for preserving food in the family cellar. He told us that they would wrap meat in cloth and then bury it in sawdust that was surrounded by ice. He swore that it would freeze and stay fresh all winter long.
I suppose that I shouldn’t complain. If it gets too cold I’ll have to bring all of my plants inside and that is a job that I absolutely hate. Sometimes I swear that I’m just going to leave them to their own resources but then I feel bad and haul them inside to warmth and safety. I have a certain connection with my plants. I give them names and talk to them. Please don’t judge me.
Anyway, I’m going to be off to a Christmas shopping extravaganza very soon and I’ll just have to imagine that I live in a winter wonderland. I wanted to leave everyone with a nice seasonal recipe this week but I can’t say that anything sounds very appealing other than nice cold crisp salads. Unless the mercury drops a bit the usual harvest fare is just too heavy. Nonetheless, I bake a nice squash casserole about this time each year that you might enjoy as a side dish if and when the time is right.
10-12 yellow squash
Butter or magarine
Salt and Pepper
Cut squash into cubes.
Place in a pan and cover with water.
Bring water to a boil and cook until squash is soft but not mushy. A fork should go easily into the cubes.
Drain the water and mash the squash with a potato masher.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While the squash is still hot season with a stick of butter. Mix well.
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar. (You may want to use less or more depending upon your tastes. I add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and mix it in. I taste to see if it has enough of a sweet flavor and only add the second tablespoon if it seems to need more.)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the mixture is brown and bubbly.
Serve while it is still hot.