Notes from a Maine Kitchen Blog Archive 2010
I just returned from a four-day trip to Portland, Oregon, where I attended the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) conference. There were close to 1,000 food writers, cookbook authors, editors, chefs, bloggers, caterers, and cooking school teachers there from Australia, Norway, Russia, Panama, Chile, Japan, Sweden, the U.K, and all over the U.S. (Many were kept away due to the volcanic ash that interrupted air travel last week.)
The forsythia and daffodils have popped and the lawn is a dramatic blaze of emerald green and yellow. The sun is gathering strength and April is here.
The power came back on last night after four days of living in a cold, dark house. Waking up this morning reminded me of the moment in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy’s world goes from black and white to color. Hard to tell if it was the power or the presence of the sun after seven days of rain and gloom, but the combination is potent.
It’s the beginning of March and all the land is dark and cranky. We’re on our fourth day without power and it occurs to me that these blackouts have been happening with regular frequency year after year. Perhaps our legislators should gather and declare mid winter “National Black Out Week.” Just make it official and we can all plan to go on vacation that week. Escape. High winds, severe rains, some snow, and poof….civilization is wiped out.
Yes, the days are definitely getting longer, but they are also a whole lot colder. Nighttime hits hard. We’ve been doing a lot of hunkering down, staying home, and cooking. No complaints from me. This is one of the great winter activities. But I have been having trouble almost every night around 7 p.m. when I get this overwhelming craving, like a force sweeping over me, to eat something sweet. Well, not just anything sweet. Chocolate. It must be chocolate.
I often forget about all the things there are to love about winter. Once the holidays wind down and life resumes its normal beat, I generally dread the long, slow months ahead. But there’s the catch. Long, slow months. That’s the beauty of winter — we get to slow down and focus inward. Inside the house, inside our minds (or what’s left of them after the holiday parties and all that eating and cooking and sleeping). There’s no garden to tend, no lawn to mow.