Summer is long past here in the breadbasket of Central Europe. It has been cold and damp for what seems like months. It’s actually only been a couple weeks but the mood has changed around the NH household. My wife and I are observing the change by taking a little more time to crawl out from under the sheets in the morning and by spending much more time planning and preparing dinners. For those reasons alone, I accept the cold weather. It allows me the chance to get really down and dirty – in the kitchen.
As proof of this, here’s a sampling of what we’ve cooked over the past couple of weeks: Duck Empanadas, Tortilla Soup, Coconut Shrimp, Flammkuchen, Seared Foie Gras, French Onion soup, Mongolian Beef and Baked Ziti. Add on top of this the fact that we’ve been to a couple of really good restaurants on nights out of the kitchen and you end up with a really good reason to love the season.
The changes are also visible in my 2 and ½ year-old daughter. You can see her take note of the difference in the weather and surroundings outside. She’s interested in the leaves, is mastering putting on her gloves and upon my arrival after a trek from the metro, she grasps my chilly fingertips and asks, “Was it cold, Daddy?” (She’s less excited about the food, though. Duck empanadas and French Onion Soup for a 2-year-old? As she puts it, “No thank you, Daddy; I’m having pizza right now.”)
Winter often gets a bad rap from the NH side of the gene pool – and for good reason. In my book it pretty much ceases to be fun after December, save for the prospect of good snow for sledding and the opportunities to enjoy hot toddies in some cave-like Prague cellar bar. However, the lead-up to the full winter letdown is something to enjoy and savor.
Christmas is coming and with that, there are the Christmas markets in Europe. We’ll be hitting them with family this year and whenever those markets are concerned, the more the merrier. Then, there will be Christmas with the whole family – our first in five years (though, not everybody at once).
Inevitably, the January to February doldrums will hit. Of course, I hope to chase those blues away with the help of some new living room technology. Nothing like a fresh Windows 7 install to warm the spirit.
Happy fall, peeps, happy fall.