From: A Kitchen Alphabet
“Slow as molasses in January” is a phrase I often heard my grandmother use when I was little—one of those phrases that lodged in my memory, but without any real comprehension of the significance at the time. Now, I ‘get’ it, of course; I use molasses in recipes not infrequently, and I understand the effect of cold on syrups. I suspect, though, that the phrase predates electricity and central heating—when a lot more people had a much more direct experience of molasses and cold. Our house is old and poorly insulated (I’m wearing a coat as I type this), but it’s still nothing to how cold I imagine it would be if we had to rely on the fireplaces for warmth. (Assuming they were working, that is—they are all long-since closed off, but the mantles remain to show where they once functioned.)
I feel a bit like molasses myself, in January. There are those who like to jump right into the new year with both feet, and I find this a wholly admirable approach; if the year only started in May, I might try it myself. But my idea of what to do in the winter is very much a bear’s idea.* Hole up, and wait it out. Comfort food (since I haven’t mastered that storing up three months of fat thing—nor, come to think of it, do I want to), and minimal commitments. Getting holiday messes cleaned up is a good start (I’ve started, does that count?), maybe a bit of virtual housekeeping, such as archiving the 12+ gigs of photographs from 2011 (arg), finally watching those Sherlock DVDs I was given some months ago (loved it!).
Last night we had hot chocolate for dessert. I am the sort of person who likes to make these things from scratch, but this time I started with a pouch of cocoa mix that had arrived as part of a holiday gift (and made it as far as the kitchen counter, where it was showing signs of putting down roots). Warmth, sustenance and tidying up after the holidays—now that’s my (January) idea of multitasking!
*Although, truth be told (and money no object), I think the birds have the better plan.
From: Main Street
From: Open For Business
phelia observed the “Open” banner overhead, and an old plaque proclaiming “Oddwin’s Oddments — Over Five Centuries In This Location!”
On the other hand, she was positive that she had placed an order with Millicent’s Millinery — on this very spot — only the other day.
It is officially feeling like winter here—the kitchen is forbiddingly chilly, and the pantry doubles as a walk-in refrigerator. My motivation, right on cue, seems to have flown south for the winter. Still, I remind myself, using the kitchen is a good way to warm it up a bit, and I have been craving these muffins. They’re the perfect antidote for the cold.
I made them recently to go with a Christmas ham, but time for documenting was a bit short. They were quite well received though, and I made a mental note to make them again soon. Not only are they a great comfort food, but they’re easy to make, even if your motivation has deserted you for warmer climes.