I have been so cold. I bought a long, goose-down coat, despite my fear of looking puffy. I was set to return it, deciding it was more burka than parka, when my oldest said, “You look like an assassin at a fashion show.” What? That’s exactly the look I didn’t know I was going for.
In an effort to ward off the chill, I attended a hot yoga class. I told my kids that it’s 105 degrees in the studio and my oldest said, “Now you are just being ridiculous.” I couldn’t expect her to come up with another fashion show assassin line – she’s not a trained compliment seal. But it really is that balmy in there. I attended a particularly crowded class and it was like being in a sardine can, wedged cheek by slimy gill with the other stinky fish. My friend asked me if everyone is almost naked in there and I said no, they are wearing tattoos. It’s a weird but satisfying experience; after squinting through your sweat-stung eyes at other people dripping sweat for 90 minutes, your body and brain are tricked into thinking you worked out.
If you are feeling chilled, but consider hot yoga a smelly bridge too far, then just make soup. We spent New Year’s Day at Mt. Baker, sledding and snowshoeing on drifts that resembled sparkling, freshly applied frosting. Our friends Peter and Gregory Ann treated us to what they called a blue state tailgate: pho soup. After the children were all sufficiently soaked and morose from sledding, Gregory brought out rice and udon noodles, steaming broth, chicken, bean sprouts, basil and lime wedges.* I recommend this for warming your furthestmost heart cockles.
Once we were back home, I was still in the mood for soup, so I made this green minestrone recipe from Bon Appetit. This recipe was billed as a soup for summer, though I don’t think there is summer soup, unless it’s beer you are drinking out of a bowl. I added fingerling potatoes and little white beans (not cannellini – too mealy) to this recipe to give it some rib-stick. Otherwise, you know how fleetingly filling soup can be. It was delicious and refreshing to look at.
This soup was easy to make and felt life-giving in the way that only green foods can. Start off the year cooking like this and even if it all goes to hell by Valentine’s Day you will at least have your verdant memories.
*Gregory neglected to include the ultimate blue state ingredient: my beloved tofu. But that’s because she thinks it’s vile.