i miss how the air feels on my skin- seems like i'm covered in multiple layers all the time now.. i miss green leaves and fresh local braising mix.. i miss long sunny afternoons and swimming.. i miss summer, it's true- and though i appreciate that it is winter that makes me appreciate every fleeting moment of summer, i can't help but feel that longing pulling at me a little..
When Alanna and I decided to close Kismet for all of February, we did so thinking that we would use that time to take a little winter vacation. We've both been working over 50 hours a week at kismet since last year as well as single-parenting each of our two children, and taking care of life's little miss-haps.. We fantasized about puerto rico, mexico, callebra, new orleans, and long hours lying in bed reading those books we've heard about on the new york times best seller's list.. I thought that I would take care of my book tour- i initiated and booked radio interviews and made little tour plans in my head- But alas, as the harsh reality of another vermont winter continues to deplete and demand all of our energy and attention, it feels like all we can do just to get our car out of the driveway and feed our children something other than miso soup and dumplings..
I have a feeling that a lot of people in this town feel the same way right now-- we all are enduring winter, because we're vermonters, and that's what we do- we stay inside for days at a time, we look deeply at ourselves, our homes, our health, our secret desires for ourselves as individuals. And we fantasize about how after this winter, after we are rejuvenated by this coming spring, we will enjoy the coming summer more furtively than the last, and we will sort it all out
Don't get me wrong, i appreciate months of meat and root vegetables.. I like cozy afternoons by the fire and how quiet the world is after fresh snow- i love going to bed early, watching movies, and the warmth of friends as we gather for meals. I love it when every branch of the trees are covered with ice or snow- i love the feeling i get when i open a jar of locally made preserves or pickles in the coldest months, and i so fully appreciate that every potato, beet, carrot, onion, and garlic that i pull from the pantry was grown nearby in earth that i can almost smell, harvested by humble hardworking hands like mine, with the intention to maximize every moment of our momentary growing season so that we can sustain ourselves and each other all year long.. Can these beets and garlic be enough? As I ration them out and try find new and excited uses for rutabagas and carrots, can i use this time to appreciate the little things? Can i really know simplicity and love it? how simple is a winter in vermont though?
Tomorrow morning the photographer from the seven days will come to take photos of our food for next week's paper.. We are featured as an organic local foods eatery and continually talk about how dedicated we are to the local foods movement and seasonal heirloom recipes. We make crepes with local organic flours, we limit our fruit and vegetable selections to those locally grown, and use only local meet and cheeses that are hormone free.. and tomorrow at ten am i will make a crepe dish and a salad for him to photograph for the paper... now- at the moment we have 5 pounds of beautiful mesclun mix in our refrigerator that has been flown in from california.. the last week has been particularly warm (for montpelier) and so we've sold lots of it.. everyone wants salad.. and the closest we can source it from is california... Now when the photographer said "make a salad" did he mean leafy california greens? or should i make something more season and local- as our menu (our menu says "seasonal salad") and mission statement promises? Is he trying to test me? Are we being set up? Honestly, the most photogenic of our salads is mesclun greens, vermont chevre, grated beets and carrots, slices of local apples, toasted sunflower seeds and sprinklings of organic pomegranate... hardly local really ... what if i made it with just the local ingredients? (apple, beets, carrots, chevre, grated cabbage, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, maine sea salt...)
Winter is full of hard choices like this i suppose.. and more..