January 22, 2013 § 22 Comments
Right at this moment, it is 20 below zero outside. The windchill is -43F, and the high today is a balmy -4.
In other words, it is January in Minnesota. And while this kind of weather does make you vaguely wonder how life can exist here, it is also pretty great – after the thaw we had two weeks ago – to feel like we’re getting a spot of normal weather.
In case you don’t live in such a frigid place, here are some things to know about this type of weather:
Yes, there is still a palpable difference between temperatures when you get lower than 32F. Sure, it all feels freezing, but not at all the same level of freezing. 5 degrees above feels downright vernal after a spell of -15. When it’s around 10 or 15 below, salt actually stops working to melt ice. It’s kind of funny. When it gets really, really cold you can toss a cupful of water up in the air, and it will freeze before it makes it back down to the earth.
The best way to respond is to go outside in spite of the cold, just be sure all of your skin is covered and that everything you’re wearing is thick and wooly. Then, make some type of remark to everyone you meet about how arctic explorers would be overjoyed to have such a pleasantly warm day.
On a related note, you must learn to recognize everyone by their hats and puffy coats because you can’t really see faces. You need boots that are in a whole different league, preferably made of moose skin. The long fur coats you inherited from your grandmother stop looking like a politically incorrect bit of fashion history and instead look like an extremely reasonable and adaptive way of dressing. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 12, 2011 § 13 Comments
Along with a whole other set of mild, borderline addictions (like kombucha, smoked fish, and eating pate for breakfast…hey now, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!) I have a pastry dough problem. It’s not so much a problem with eating it – though there are very few things in this world that taste worse when delicately cradled in flaky dough. My addiction is to making it (and then I push it on others because one can really only eat so much pastry dough before one begins to take on the look of a stuffed turnover oneself. Not that I don’t also eat plenty myself in the process. And love it.).
Many people see a recipe that calls for making a pie crust, or a tart crust, or any other pastry dough and they quickly turn the page, banishing thoughts of how tasty it sounded from their minds because they are unwilling to confront the process. Or they turn to Pillsbury for help. I was one of those people up until a few years ago. But, one intrepid day I decided I would try it. The crust didn’t turn out all that fabulous, but it was good, and painless enough that I was willing to try again. Then I tried again, and again, and soon I found myself envisioning everything in my refrigerator wrapped up in a tart, just so I could get one more hit of the dough making process.