I am well and thoroughly tired of winter, and we haven’t even had a bad one. There’s no good reason for me to complain (other than to keep my compaining muscles in shape). A few thousand feet up? The mountain passes tell another story, of avalanches, closures, delays and massive headaches. But I haven’t had to deal with that, really, although my boy and my husband are planning on heading up into the mountains this week for a “fun” camping trip. I like camping. I spent a couple of summers living outside, without running water (we had a hand pump) or electricity, cooking everything over a campfire and becoming familiar with some of the uses of lime (not the fruit). It was genuinely fun, and also gave me a lifelong appreciation of washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and hot running water. Let me emphasize that it was also genuinely summer, a season not known for having several feet of snow on the ground. The mountains have gotten around eight feet of snow, just in the last week. However, the two of them did this last year, and had loads of “fun” (I’m going to put that in quotes, because I remain skeptical), so, hmm. Sure. A big pot of chicken dumpling soup will be waiting for you when you return Sunday night.It’s not that I hate winter. I love ice skating (you'd hope, with the whole playing ice hockey thing). I love skating outside (not that you can really do that in Seattle). I love the way the branches of deciduous trees trace a lacy pattern against the sky (again, not so much in Seattle, but I do love the way the evergreens jut blackly against the thick winter blanket of clouds). I love cross country skiing, sledding, walking outside while it snows… if I keep going, this will degenerate into something that sounds more like a cheesy personal ad (I also like walking on the beach, watching the sun set and romantic, candle-lit dinners!!) than an attempt to prove that I don’t actually hate winter. It’s hard not find some pleasure in a season in which you can make your child into a mini pink and purple marshmallow as she zooms around an ice rink (this picture is from the holidays, when we were in the Chicago area. The rink is right next to the elementary school my sibs and I attended).
Still, Seattle winters. The raw, damp cold. The windstorms. The dark. Thirty-nine degrees and rain blowing sideways. Sometimes winter weather can be exhilarating. Summer food embraces the season; winter food comforts and combats it. That’s simplistic (and not entirely true) but judging by the tomatoes and lemons suddenly sprouting on other food blogs, I am not the only person starting to yearn for spring and summer, and trying to address that longing with food. Also, my local bellwethers for whether it’s time to complain about the weather, the born and bred Seattlites, are finally starting to look at the sky and scowl.Between my winter blahs and my winter virus, I needed a culinary pick-me-up. In December, I read the post Soba For When You’re Sick on Tea & Cookies. At the time, amazingly, I wasn’t sick (well, not that sick), but given the predilections of my immune system (which appears to take looooooong vacations), I knew that I would be making those noodles this winter. I didn’t follow the recipe precisely, but closely enough to be able to recommend it highly. It was simple and comforting, but still had a juicy brightness that I long for when I’m feeling under the weather. Just the ticket. I was still sick, sure, but I felt so, so, so much better after eating it. I have a feeling that this will become a staple in our house.