JANUARY. Yuck. If you can’t tell, I’m not a winter fan and January in New England is like eating broccoli as a 5-year-old. Ewww!
My home has been in Connecticut my whole life, living through 26 New England Januarys! Januarys mean working off months of holiday feast pounds, months left of shoveling and picking ice off my car, and no amount of lotion fixing the flakes coming off my face. Being an adult is fun! HA!
Yet the dead of the winter as a child meant nothing short of a winter wonderland. On snow days off from school, my sister Mary and I would play outside and only come in when our toes were numb and our hats were covered in icicles. We’d rip off our snow pants and drink Mom’s hot chocolate with enough mini marshmallows to feed a village. Winter meant Christmas tree farm scavenger hunts for my mom’s favorite fluffy fat Christmas trees. After tree hunting, winter meant farm stands closing, and hunkering down with Dad’s hearty pastas, slow-cooked meats and soups. It meant Mom taking out her favorite royal blue candles from the old maple kitchen cabinet. Lighting them was always a special occasion, illuminating the kitchen table when the winter sun set early.
There are some winter things that haven’t changed. The first snowfall in CT is nothing short of magical, with heavy wet snow flakes icing the roofs and billowing chimneys of old colonial houses. The smell of wood burning fires always warms my nose enough to inhale the sharp northerly wind.
I still hunker down to enjoy hearty pastas and slow-cooked meats and soups, cooking with techniques I learned from watching my dad. I still light candles at dinner to brighten a wintery table. I still make hot chocolate when I can’t get warm. I still look at a snowy morning landscape and dream of snow days with Mary.