"There is a town in north Ontario / With dream comfort memory to spare..."

I'm not the first to say this, but I have no idea where November went. Hello December -- I can hear you whispering among the willows.

The first snow came as I walked down a beautiful city street, fall leaves still attached to their branches. Ahh, Canada; it turns out I missed you something serious! I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I... might like this thing called winter.

Yeah, I still can't believe it. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm hardcore about summer. But winter inspires bundling under blankets and hot apple cider with a capful of Captain Morgan's spiced rum, sitting by a roaring fire and making mulled wine. It means evenings spent reading and listening to K. D. Lang talk about being helpless, and sitting back on your sofa, reflecting, feeling fortunate about the way the months have unfolded. Who knows how many wrong turns we narrowly avoided.

But still, no blood oranges. They are December babies, after all. So I wait. I wait for blood oranges, and blood orange and jalapeno margaritas, and blood orange juice, extremely orange and tart.

Farmer's markets packed with kale, with spinach, with celery root, with candy beets that really know how to help a salad take centre stage. Clementines that taste so sweet, juice dribbling down your chin as you tuck into another section. Pears the shade of green the grass takes when you first see it in the springtime, signalling, however subtle, a new season, and leeks as big as a child's arm. We are fat and happy around here as we decorate the office tree, exchanging inappropriate stories while we let the tea steep. If you're going to take a break between frantic e-mails and drawn out phone conversations, you better make it a good time.

Yes, winter, maybe I've come around to you. Strolling through Toronto streets in my boots, jeans tucked in. Waking up to a giant mug of coffee the size of my head -- a really fantastic cup, I should say -- and buckwheat crepes filled lightly with cheese and topped with sunny side up eggs, sprinkled with paprika, and chicken bacon. The crepes are so good and buttery tasting that my tastebuds can't help but sit up and dance. The flavour isn't nutty, but soft and flavourful. I need that recipe and someday someone's going to surrender it to me. But in the meantime I'll dream about that crepe and about the Christmas holidays, and wait for blood oranges.

What are you waiting for, dear readers? Or maybe you're just enjoying things as they are, which is perfectly acceptable, too. Let me tell you: I've got my eyes on those pears.

Do yourself a favour and dance while you cook. Tonight there is a batch of soup simmering on the stove, and "2 Scoops" by Michelle Harding coming from my television, and hey! another Monday under our belts. We're a day closer to blood oranges, to a new year, to a good night's sleep. Winter -- I've got you figured out.

*Entry title courtesy of Neil Young, "Helpless"


Andrea Paterson said...

Ahh yes...winter in Vancouver means that I want to eat nothing but soup to chase away the damp chill. But what I'm really waiting for is the sugar mandarins. I love clementines as well but they don't seem to have those on the West Coast. They do have sugar mandarins, smaller than a clementine, slightly sweeter, and each section looking exactly like a jelly bean. They're a pain to peel and you need to eat dozens before you feel satisfied, but I adore them anyway. The hard work makes them taste better.

Leslie-Anne said...

Blood oranges are just as exciting as a first summer tomato. I can't wait to make marmalade with them this year!

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