Winter foodathon

I hinted in the last post that I would be cooking today. In fact, the winter foodathon actually started earlier this week. The first salvo was a butternut squash soup. We haven’t done a lot of squash stuff generally—but this was fabulous. Roast a squash split in half, cook onions and ginger in butter, add squash and broth and cook, puree, add more butter, serve. Wow.

I actually made bread on Friday, albeit in a microwave. Whaa…? you cry. Yep. My working recipe was from James Beard, but most of the ones that Google finds are pretty close.

Saturday was a no-cooking day. We did go to the Beer Summit—despite the impending snowstorm—and made a couple of discoveries. To wit: Never complain to a brewfest volunteer that a keg is skunked (they can’t do anything about it); always seek out the tables manned by people from the brewery; and when you’re tired of high-octane American brews, their cousins from the continent will provide some well needed balance. For instance, this jewel—Kriek de Ranke, which includes yeast strains that came from Rodenbach; the Jopen Koyt Gruit Beer, hopless but spectacular; the Paulaner Salvador doppelbock, always a favorite; the Moretti La Rossa, an unexpected Italian delight; North Coast’s Old Stock Ale, just about a dead ringer for Thomas Hardy’s Ale; and the various offerings of the Konigshaven brewery, including a winter-ale spiced Quadrupel which became a favorite of our crowd. Never fear: the samples were all small, and the long blizzardly walk back to the T plus the ride back to Alewife were sufficient to strike sobriety into anyone’s heart prior to the short drive back home.

Today: snow—as discussed in the previous post—and food. Pancakes and bacon in the morning. Pancakes reminded me that I need to level our stove—instead of round pancakes, I got oblongs because of the slight front to back tilt—and change our baking powder, which we’ve had for six years and appears to have gone stale, accounting for our flat rubbery pancakes. Ah well, the coffee and bacon were good. Lunch was skipped in favor of dinner—homemade pappardelle with a Renaissance inspired ragú made with beef, onion, cinnamon, black pepper, and broth. And we haven’t seen the last of the snow yet. Tomorrow: broccoli risotto, probably, and a roast chicken, and… and maybe a thaw before I gain twenty pounds.

Ah well. It beats the blizzard of 1996, when my housemates and I found that the foods that lingered were year-old horrible brews from departed friends (the “cider” in particular was pure nasty) and a massive bowl of handmade whipped cream.

How deep’s the snowdrift, Papa? 3 feet high and rising


No kidding. We got a solid 22–26″ of snow starting at about 5 PM last night and continuing right up until now, with the plow drifts at greater than three feet. Right after breakfast, during a lull in the storm, I got the snowblower out and cleared the driveway, and it was a good thing—more than a few drifts had crested above the top of the snowblower mouth, and I had to really get creative to clear out the driveway entrance. (And, of course, when I had just put the snowblower away, the plow came back and I had to go and shovel again.)

This has been a hell of a storm. Local TV is calling it a “winter hurricane”—some coastal regions are seeing gusts up to 60 MPH and there is an “eye” to the storm. (Coverage of the storm:, New York Times, BBC.)

We bought a lot of groceries, and I’m looking forward to doing some cooking this afternoon as soon as my fingers warm up.