January 12, 2012
To say that we had a "nice Christmas" this year would be such an understatement. To quote my older brother who is usually sparse with words and short on emotion, "It was one of the best in a long time." And I would have to agree. I know that a lot of people have mixed feelings about Christmas, and holidays in general, as they tend to bring up memories of family dramas of years past and the stress is sometimes running high. After all, anytime you gather too many family members under one roof, not to mention members of more than one family, things can get goofy at best, unbearable at worst.
But ours was a fun and cheerful time spent with both our families all together, our house serving as the neutral gathering place. We didn't travel to one or the other, or miss seeing one in order to see the other. We made everyone come to us and I have to say, it was perfect. Since everything pretty much revolves around the baby now, it made sense to do this and she had a ball. She really had fun seeing everyone and kept repeating everyone's names after they left, saying "see you." It was so sweet.
Now we are in the middle of January and I miss my family and also --the snow. I realize that after so many winters living in Colorado I equate winter with cold and snow and the beautiful mountain scenery that I miss so much. I can take really cold temperatures, as long as they're dry and mixed with sun. In the south when it's cold, it's often also wet and damp which makes winter a lot less enjoyable. I also miss skiing and hiking in the mountains and the FUN that winter brings in Colorado.
(the photo above is of the Flatirons in Boulder on a typical winter day).
So we try to make the most of it by going to the library or the coffee shops or wherever we can find a good train table (June is obsessed with trains all of a sudden and can't get enough of Thomas the Tank Engine) and we hit the playground on warmer days where she can get some exercise and meet friends.
In my kitchen things are warm and we're roasting a lot of chickens, making beef stew or creamy, indulgent things like this mushroom-leek risotto that I made last night. It was one of those wintry dishes with lots of cream, butter and cheese that you can only really justify when the weather is cold and you've earned it by working outside all day (like Daniel) or worked out at the gym (that would be me).
Here's an article I just came across in the NYTimes Dining and Wine section today and it was totally speaking to me. I love vegetable risottos like the beautiful one above this time of year. They really warm the soul and satisfy that craving I have for a real winter. If I can't be in the Rockies or the Alps right now, at least I can cook the way they do in the colder climates. And keep dreaming of snow.