It’s cold. It’s dark. It seems never-ending. It is, of course, January.
Nobody around here gets away from January, unless a trip somewhere well south of the Mason-Dixon line or far enough west to reach Hawaii is in the immediate future.
But it’s OK. Those of us blessed enough to have warm clothes to wear, shoes without holes that keep our feet dry and a roof over our heads to live in with it fairly comfortably. After awhile we all get through it. In our leisure time inside, we watch some TV, maybe play on a computer, play board games, read and tell stories.
A recurrent theme at our house when I was a child was my own voice saying to my mother, “Tell me a story!” What I wanted to hear was tales of her childhood. I feel like my own grandmother when I talk about “the blizzard of ‘78” and all the snow that accompanied it. It reminds me of a country song whose title escapes me at the moment that tells about a grandpa walking five miles to school “uphill both ways.”
Were you around in the late 1970s, when we had back-to-back harsh, snowy winters? The blizzard of January 1978 was memorable, to say the least. A long distance truck driver making his way up I-71 toward Cleveland was snowed in in his truck by a huge drift that covered the entire truck. He was discovered alive and well when it stopped snowing a day and a half later. The only way anyone could tell he was there was by the top of his smoke stack sticking out of the drift.
That was also the year when the Christmas trees put out at the curb for pick up were covered with 7-foot drifts. January was bad; February was no better; some time about mid-March, the snow and ice grudgingly melted enough that the discarded trees lining our street started to poke through. It took the ice that had us in its grip about another week and a half to release the trees so they could be picked up.
I’ve always associated dinners in the winter with something that cooks all day, giving off delicious aromas that fill every corner of the house. That’s one way I’ve filled my down time in the winter. Try this recipe and see how it helps you pass the long January days.
CRAB SOUP CAROLINA STYLE
2 cups lump crab meat, picked over, cartilage discarded
2 cups milk
2 cups half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons butter
2 strips (3 inches each) lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
Combine all ingredients except sherry and crushed crackers in a crockpot; stir well. Cover and cook on low setting for 3 to 5 hours. Just before serving, stir in sherry and crumbs to thicken.
Substitute chopped shrimp for the crab if you wish.
Makes six servings.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.