On A Dark Winter's Night
Winter came in the early evening with the wind and the cold. It burrowed inside, making us feel sad and sleepy. His hand held mine under the wool blanket, but friends and fire coaxed us out back out into the black night.
We made our way onto Lee Street for a taste of a faraway land. Marykay, the sociologist and chef greeted us at the door with a hug and warm smile. We shed our coats for a cozy seat by a cat with black stripes down her back. Orest, the historian and baker, bounded in with delicious treats from the Middle East. With the beer flowing free, stories of mobsters and scotch, old loves and cancer, puffins and too many places to see, too many things to do, all held us captive in their living room.
These two, older and wiser than us, fared so many dark winters in their day. We wondered what their secret was. They took out a bottle of wine and we moseyed into the kitchen. A happy mess of books and spices looked like they could tumble out from the shelves at any minute. We watched them cook together in their cramped eclectic space. Like a dance they moved around the center island, tossing oils, spices and food about in bowls. With the recipe out of sight, out of mind, they made their own way.
After buttering and rolling rice papers stuffed with their Vietnamese mixture of exotic mushrooms, pork and noodles, they threw the rolls into spitting oil, fireworks at the finish. With food and laughter, one young couple and one old, we warmed our hearts and filled our bellies on a dark winter’s night.
Jenna’s Recipe for a Dark Winter’s Night
3 or 4 dear friends
1 or 2 cozy blankets
1 roaring fire
1 record player
32-oz crowler from your local craft brewery
1 bottle of Delmarva wine (red or white)
1 cup Jessica’s lemon garlic roasted hummus with all the fixings, pita chips, pretzel chips, fresh cut veggies
6 or 7 stories to share
8 grilled lamb rib chops with mint sauce
1 or 2 rounds of Settlers of Catan (or The Game of Things)
1 rhubarb galette, made with your winter rhubarb preserves
1 pot of locally roasted coffee
1 classic 90’s movie like That Thing You Do!
1 GIANT bowl of popcorn
an assortment of cane sugar sodas
First set the mood with some of your favorite music. Spread out the hummus and fixings across the coffee table. Set the dinner table with mix matched patterns and plates and cloths. Greet your friends with a hug and warm smile. Invite them in by the fire and offer them their choice of drink. Laugh, listen and learn from your friends and their stories, share your own life with them.
Invite them into the kitchen. Give them something to spice, dance and cook together. Next, chow down on chops and crush them in Catan. After their utter demise, console them with the rhubarb galette and freshly brewed coffee. Offer cozy blankets and bowls filled with popcorn and bring them some soda pop, too. Play the feature presentation. Let them crash on your couch or shoo them out at the end with another hug and a smile.