Cold but Cooking

The word for 2001 is…COLD! I know that I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but we do have a little different take on that since this is our first full winter in our hundred year old house out in the middle of nowhere.

After our move during last year’s ice storm and freezing to death our first months in this old house, we have been thrilled to say that we have been warmer this year than last. We’ve caulked, hammered, reconstructed, re-glazed until the drafts have definitely become less noticeable.

We also have a working fireplace that we’ve kept going all through the holidays. I can’t say we’re warm: in fact, I’m wearing long johns and my ski boots all the time and Tommy is wearing a coat/vest and hat during his waking hours. BUT, we are definitely warmer than last year.

It has been such a relief—we’ve been dreading the cold this year. Reality set in, however, during the day on Dec. 30 when we realized the propane was running out—we may not even make it until they deliver more. It snuck up on us because it’s only been 10 days since we had the tank filled! Oh, dear!

Anyway, this cold weather has triggered some unusual instincts in me. I am not a domesticated lady. I let my husband go about cooking and cleaning while I tend to repairs and remodeling. It’s a great bargain for both of us, but in getting ready for Christmas, I kept gravitating toward the kitchen. Something told me to get cooking.

My family laughed at my apparent domesticity—homemade biscuits and bread along with the homemade pumpkin pie. It’s obviously been so long since I’ve done this kind of thing, no one remembers me cooking!

By this past weekend the call of the kitchen snared me but good. I ended up making turkey soup, pot pies and vegetable/deer soup. I got a freezer full now. (Boy, was I exhausted last night!) This morning I made whole wheat blueberry muffins and I’ve got plans to bake bread this afternoon. Eating those tasty muffins was such a gratification. Hearty food for the stomach leads to such a feeling of contentment—I made it with my own two hands, Ma!

And why was I driven to this? I’ve been wondering for days now. Could it be my experience in a 1890’s vintage house in Carlton with no heating system? It wasn’t a happy experience but I first started baking bread there. Could it be some primal urge to stock up on food since the heat is costing us every penny possible and more? Or could it be boredom, me being a housebound asthmatic? (that cold air is cruel on the lungs, folks)

Finally, this morning I made the connection. After a really cold night, the temp in the house was over 65 degrees for a change. (It’s usually around 60 and takes 2 to 3 hours to warm up to 65.) Ah, residual heat from all that cooking.

Now I’ve got plans for some 15 bean soup—gotta use up the Christmas ham. I wonder how much bread I can bake and freeze that we’ll actually be able to eat. Hmm, maybe I should start of list of folks who might benefit from all this kitchen activity.

Life in the country has brought some interesting surprises this past year. Me, cooking again. Whatta ya know?

A word to the wise–cooking warms up the kitchen, the house and…the soul!