I call this blog post Simmering Creativity because today I’ve felt the first twinges of Spring in my soul after a bleak December, January, and most of February. Creative urges went underground. . . except for my weekly writing assignment with the Writer’s BLOC and my poetry assignments with the Shavanos. Like the mail carriers that stop at nothing–ice, snow, wind, sleet, hail or dark of night, writing assignments get written. Obviously my blog doesn’t count as one of them!
Winter is fighting for its life, but it is losing. Last night 2 more inches of snow. Yesterday in the 40s. This morning in the twenties. Jim built a fire in the wood stove to cheer me.
I have a cold–probably the best thing that’s happened this month, because I believe I’m finally releasing a lot of old pent up angst from taking care of him after his surgery. A cold requires blowing your nose a lot, taking to your bed without guilt in the middle of the day, and soaking in a tub of epsom salts up to your chin.
This week he’s the Top Banana. Doing the shopping, filling the car’s gas tank, vacuuming (well he always does that), shoveling snow.
BUT, today, armed with my new 4 qt. Hamilton Beach crock pot,
I have concocted a stew for tonight. It is burbling on Low as we speak.
I won’t bore you with the recipe, but will tell you it’s from my vintage Better Homes & Gardens, copyright 1976, Crockery Cooker cook book. It was my recipe book during my first marriage and I’ve clung to its wisdom knowing that some day I’d use it again. That’s how old it is, and the ingredients include things like a “4-ounce can of mushroom stems and pieces” and “1/3 cup of bottled barbecue sauce”–things you don’t often see in today’s healthful recipes. I asked Jim to buy them for me so I could make this stew recipe–comfort food for a cold night.
I made the beef stock from scratch over night. At my request, Jim brought home a bag of beef bones, any one of which was large enough to hurl at an intruder. They filled the crock pot and peeked over the top. I added the onions, celery, peppercorns, parsley, salt and bay leaf to the 5 cups of water and it simmered all night–14 hours.
I wish I knew a dog to give the cooked bones to with all the delicious marrow and gristle and fat. Our cats enjoyed some tiny bites, but not like a couple of German Shepherds. And one dares not set them outside for the coyotes. Heaven forbid! We’d have those pups on our doorstep for evermore.
This is to say that for me, in February’s 20-degree cold, the makey-doey kind of creativity has arrived in the form of kitchen witchery. And this is from someone who avoids the kitchen whenever possible.