Well, I’m not sure I’d really be that blue if I were sitting in my bathing suit next to the water somewhere like this girl…still, they say the third Monday or so in January is the day most people feel the lowest. I have to agree that it’s about now I start thinking that mid-Feb. and all of March would be nice somewhere sunny. Michigan is a very cloudy state and northern Michigan quite snowy. Vitamin D supplements do not work for my body the way the sun does and this picture looks pretty nice.
But I maintain that the winter, despite those blue days, is essential for sorting, regrouping, resting. I lived in southern California for almost four years in my younger days and while I at first found it amazing and energizing, I missed the change of season, that time we recharge our souls, the sheer peacefulness of winter that all the other seasons lack. In California there were two seasons: GO and GO A LITTLE LESS. It rained in the winter, so it seemed a bit like spring or fall, but not a true change of seasons.
I admit shoveling snow is not the most fun at my advanced age, but there is nothing like sitting in front of a warm fire watching a huge blizzard out over the bay as we did here Saturday.
I’m revising my memoir and my fantasy novel and starting to write my Dirty Carnivore Cookbook, compiling recipes, taking notes on the history of food. What could be cooler than the history of food?
I’ve been reading Jim Harrison’s A Really Big Lunch–his essays on food and eating. And I’ve also been taking notes about the history of eating and cooking from the Larousse Gastronomique–The World’s Best Culinary Encyclopedia. Somewhere in Harrison’s book he states that nothing is as rewarding and cooking and eating a truly fine meal–not even his poetry or hunting or fishing–which he loved. It can restore the soul in ways nothing else can.
Even from the time I was in my twenties, living on my own, and suffering from the blues, I knew to cook something–preferably a roast of some kind, chicken, pot roast–or better yet, a good stew or soup–but it had to be something that took a little bit to assemble and then you could smell cooking all day. This made me think of home and it never failed to raise flagging spirits.
Well, this week is busy with Dad’s doctor appointments so soul-nurturing cooking will have to wait until Saturday (planked salmon, seared tenderloins, ribeyes, chicken thighs–over fettuccine for those guys– will have to do until then.) I’ll eat out with a friend one night–oysters maybe downtown. But Saturday is a lovely cassoulet. I don’t get to eat all of it, but it’s a lovely French casserole type dish usually made from duck confit. I have a confit aging in the fridge, not ready yet, so will use duck fat and bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, garlic sausages, bacon, lots of veggies and chicken stock, cannelloni beans, all topped with bread crumbs (Yes, I’ll have to fish out chicken and sausage for myself). It will be nice to make it for Dad who has no intention of eating carnivore. The meat gets browned, bacon sweated, and the whole thing assembled and baked for an hour and fifteen. Mmm.
Speaking of Duck Confit. It looks just as it should aging in that fridge–a testing recipe for the cookbook. Covered in duck fat, topped off with a layer of lard to preserve it in the fridge up to three months. We will have it in March latest. Then I’ll try this again with turkey legs. You can save the duck fat for other uses which is good since duck and leaf lard are pricey.
Salmon and liver today for me–I think I am low on potassium and salmon is a good source. The other electrolytes are ok, I think.
Dreams: I dreamt about Jim Harrison–a Michigan writer I met once with a friend I was fly-fishing with. We met him in the Dunes Brewery in Grand Marais spent two evenings chatting with him, seeing his bird dog. This was real, not a dream. But in my dream, I was driving Jim somewhere. He’s dead now, so I hope he got where he was supposed to be.
Happy Blue Monday, eh? Cook something nice and slow…