Connections: Warm Winter Suppers

A really cold and blustery winter day always makes me start thinking about delicious recipes and hearty meals

How do you tolerate the cold? I don’t seem capable of tolerating winter at all these days. When the temperature drops down below freezing, I find myself unwilling to do much of anything except go to bed and read a book. And, for some reason, a really cold and blustery winter day always makes me start thinking about delicious recipes and hearty meals. 

I’m told that when your core temperature drops, the body signals a need for more calories, and I guess that’s what happened to me when the thermometer plummeted earlier this week. Before today’s paper went to bed I had filled the pantry shelves as well as the refrigerator and freezer with more than we could possibly expect to need anytime soon. I asked my husband to have a look at all the groceries I’d brought home and estimate how long he thought it would take us to eat every morsel in the larder — for example, if we found ourselves entirely isolated by a snowstorm — but he just looked at me as if I’d gone a bit loco. We have enough on hand for a couple of hurricanes at least, and a power outage or two.

We’ve got both frozen homemade chili and store-bought chili. Because potatoes and warm winter suppers are synonymous, we’ve got three kinds: Yukon gold, big red, and sweet. We’ve got three kinds of squash, too: acorn, spaghetti, and butternut. We’ve got parsnips and some puréed celery root, and I nabbed an eggplant at the store just because it looked handsome. As for carrots, we’ve got a package of those tiny ones that dry out before you eat them and a couple of healthy bunches. Carrots are necessary in a December soup, but I guess I’d better start cooking. Minestrone, perhaps? Or a Greek avgolemono?

Sweet Pea, our Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons “ARFan,” is well taken care of, too. The veterinarian has told us she has gained too much weight — gee, I wonder how that happened? —and she is on what he calls a “metabolic diet” for the winter. Sweet Pea has a large case of special canned food and double bags of dry pellets in the pantry, as well, and won’t need anything else until Valentine’s Day at the soonest.

Obviously, this impulse to overstock is not just an uncontrollable urge to prepare for weather emergencies but also to prepare for holiday company. Whatever the weather, visitors will be arriving in the coming weeks. I know just who to invite.