Topic: Food

Planning Ahead: A Winter Day in the Kitchen

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During our weekly editorial meeting my boss, Yankee‘s editor, Mel Allen, was sparking our creativity, trying to get us to think about winter issues for 2010 (!). He asked us about the perfect snowy winter day and how we would spend it. Most of my colleagues were thinking outside the four walls: skiing, ice fishing, building snowmen. Not me — I was indoors, in baggy flannel pajama bottoms and that old “Newport” sweatshirt.

As Mel and my colleagues spoke of stacking cords of wood and snowball fights, I could smell a big hunk of meat searing in my giant orange Dutch oven. I could feel the reverb in my hands from chopping vegetables. I saw myself adding the chicken stock and popping the pot in the oven for hours of braising. I imagined the earthy scent of roasted parsnips and the garnet juices of beets. A mix of music began to play: some Al Green, Ben Harper, Eva Cassidy, Crowded House, Johnsmith …

Red wine poured into glasses … Friends hanging around … Mel asked me a question and I could only stare at him. He had moved on to other topics, but I was stuck in my kitchen as the snow piled up outside. Perhaps the light snow falling outside our New Hampshire offices beckoned me away from the meeting, to cozier environs.

How would you spend a perfect winter day? Inside or out? And what would you cook if you stayed inside? Leave a comment, if you please.

  • Well as mentioned already by some readers and yourself Annie, one of best things I think to do on a snowy day, or dismal, murky, cold and rainy day (we get more of these kinds of days in Ireland than Snowy days, except for this year, we were punished by the Snow Gods, just 4 weeks ago!) is the roast chicken dinner with all the trimings! In Ireland the “trimmings” are usually the following: roast potatoes, mash, homemade stuffing, gravy made from the chicken juices and vegetables ( in our house usually peas and carrotts) or another favourite is an Irish stew, recipe handed down from my my granmother to my mother (and she to me!) No guinness in this stew, just the usual stew ingredients (cant give away the recipe or words will be had!) and it can be made using lamb or beef. The smells and preparation of these meals are an enjoyable ritual on these types of days but also on a chilly Autumn night coming up to Halloween, when the first proper nip in the air has arrived! These are some of the ultimate comfort foods for our family… folllowed by homemade fairy cakes, complete with chocolate topping and sprinkles, downed with a big,steaming hot mug of Irish Tea! The joy’s of life’s simple pleasures!! Your articles are so homey, love them!!

  • I live in Arizona, so snow isn’t likely : ) However, I feel similarly inspired to cook/bake on a day that is rainy or overcast. I would likely bake comfort foods – soup, mashed potatoes and the like. And of course, no day inside is complete without a nice hot mug of hot chocolate or buttered rum. Delicious.

  • thanks for the responses– Yes… roast chicken! pot roast! bread!!! I can smell them all right now.

    And Danny–I am a native New Englander, but from Marblehead, Massachusetts ; )

  • Katherine

    I would bake bread to get that wonderful, toasty, yeasty smell to float all over the house. Then I would make a pot roast or even roast a turkey–something to warm the spirits as well as the appetite. Then I’d make an apple pie. I love to cook on cold, snowy winter days! Thanks for getting me eager to begin.

  • I remember fondly living in New England, spending a late autumn weekend day getting those last minute items prepared for winter or rushing about in the first snowfall playing catch-up. A day of preparation before a few friends come over for a night socializing and playing table games. A great, warm way to pass by the chill of the coming winter.

    A wonderful braise or a nice hearty soup or stew would be a great meal for a day spent on those too long delayed chores. My favorite would be an old fashioned Yankee Pot Roast, in a pot gravy rich with onions and mushrooms. Simmered long and slow in red wine and it’s own juices, the meat just about falling apart when sliced. Accompanied by carrots, potatoes and parsnips added to the dutch oven for the last hour or so, perfect! And could any dessert for this mean be better than apple pie? I don’t think so! Add a few friends and you’ve got a great evening in.

  • Yum! I was there with you as you described it! But I was thinking roast chicken – I just love that smell in the house on a fall or winter Sunday afternoon – with all the fixin’s – and wine, friends – and some good board games…

  • hi annie after searching for a house to model after for my gingerbread house this year I
    have made my decision, its the white house in the picture on page 43 of this months edition
    of yankee little towns of vermont and if im not mistaken is where you were born?

    danny damron

  • thanks Danny–good to hear from you. I’d be coaxed outside for my dog and to build a snowman!

  • i would first have to shovel off the grass so my dog which is little can go out and bark like a
    big dog, and do her business. She is a cha-poo chahuahua and poodle,talk about spoilled!
    but thats my fault. Six pounds of all dog i aiways say. Anyway a snowman is next aiways!
    I love the quiet a snow brings outside. For supper homemade vegtable soup so good.
    So there it is all about me and the cha-poo. E-mail me back cause no one else ever does!
    danny damron 734 250 3147 ps love your artitcles be well.


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