Fuck I love winter. Yeah, that’s right, I’m one of those. I dig the holidays, the energy, the bustle, the lights, the goofy ass music, (well that Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer atrocity not withstanding) the bows, glitter I could do without, the excited kids, the crying babies, the tables full of roasted food and toasted relatives, but even beyond the holidays I simply love winter as a season. First of all it is the one time of year us busty and chunky girls kind of shine…..and not because we’re sweating. We look good in sweaters that accentuate our positives; there is no layer of patina refracting light and allowing dusty bits of gross shit to stick to our puddling pudgy faces, shorts are never a consideration, (and not even if it were 300 degrees would I ever do that to anyone, no need to worry about that, like ever) everyone else all bundled up look kinda puffy too and I once heard that the smell of Ranch dressing becomes an aphrodisiac from like November through February! Fuck yeah, this is my goddamn season.
So I stress for the store but come home during the holidays kind of lit up and vibrating. The non-stop and heart pounding that comes from trying hard to stay on top of everything and act as if it is no sweat, well like I said, it makes me vibrate and in turn I spin about, work hard and don’t stop until it comes to a screeching halt which used to be pretty much right after Christmas, with some craziness come New Year’s Eve but last year Randy was savvy and snuck in a couple tastings between Christmas and New Year’s which did two things, kept the energy and me going. Being the bubble lady that week is kind of my rock star week, everyone needing suggestions or recommendations and for my Champagne freaks, well it is the end of the year celebration, this year ending with a fried chicken party and record numbers for the store. So short story already too damn long, unlike Target or whatever, our season isn’t over until 6:00 PM on New Year’s Eve.
Came through the door Monday night with a big grin on my awkward mug and an itch, that itch, the one that when I was little would have me craving summer and sinking my little body in the pool. Head plunged under water, world silent and gentle as I floated in absolute soundlessness. The itch for me now far from the nose-stinging chlorinated water, far from the fear that would inspire me to go there, my itch now coming in the form of audible clicks as I turn the knobs on my stove, the stubborn groan of my vintage food processor, the screaming sizzle of animal flesh searing or rendering, veggies sweating their sweetness and smearing it along the bottom of my well used pans. Not as quiet as when my little blonde head would bob underwater until my green eyes were nearly bloody red and burning so bad people might not suspect I’d been crying…for months until it was warm enough to swim, float and pretend I were anywhere else….no, the itch that moves me now, causes my too tired frame to stand for hours, it’s the nibble from the mouths I love to feed and the undeniable power and pleasure I feel when I’m in my kitchen, especially in winter….feels like floating.
I didn’t even bother to remove my shoes, just jumped right into my already fragrant, and way to fucking tiny kitchen. A plump butcher bought chicken, stuffed with lemon, brown onions and herbs, (okay there might have been some butter…I am a chunky girl, gotta keep those sweaters filled and all) already in the oven I drained the morel mushrooms and began the painfully tiny dice I like for the shallots when I make risotto. I don’t even remember the events in order, there was lots of chopping, stirring and scraping, the aromas from three pots and a roasting pan in the oven acting like firm hands giving me a deep tissue massage. The occasional “click” as my blade hit a bone while carving the chicken, the hiss of Brussels sprouts as they rolled around in a cast iron pan with a layer of bacon drippings, another sign of winter…my beloved bowl of spent bacon glory, (you call it fat, I call it flavor/glory) that I keep beside my stove for about two months out of the year, it is used to season everything but come March, it just seems to vanish. Not on purpose, just the way I cook and the way the seasons move me.
My tired wrist driving a waiter’s corkscrew into a spongy cork and the fucking erotic aroma of Pinot Noir from Beaune wrapping its hands around my throat, resting its thumbs upon my chin and slowly pulling my lips apart. The groans, grunts and ‘holy fucks’ I hear as metal hits porcelain, my food hits our palates and Domaine de Montille 1er Cru Les Sizies splashes against the morels and swollen rice that lie warm and creamy in my mouth. Deep sigh, another glass of sensual and “fuuuccckkk” inspiring Pinot Noir before opening a bottle of N.V. H. Billiot Grand Cru Brut Reserve, finally kicking off my shoes that were beginning to feel as if they may have been welded on. The curve of my back against the overstuffed cushions on the couch, cheeks warm from wine and the season, action movie that is much preferred to the whole going out on New Year’s Eve with the untrained and ill-behaved, on television. Big stretch, big sigh and a big…cough. Fuck.
So yeah, I love winter except for this shit right here. I’m sick! Least this asshole of a virus waited until after the holidays but it couldn’t have waited until after inventory, (last night) and my Loire Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, (Friday…fuck me, that is today. Dang it, I will sleep someday, I swear) that I have been wicked excited about?! Fucker. Guess not. Buttwad, buttwad of an illness that hasn’t even had the decency to fully explode on me yet. Got the shivers, the thick chest, (and no, not the tight sweater heaving kind) that when I cough tastes “funny”, the cloudy and full of pressure head, fire breathing sore throat and aches that rest in just about every joint I have. Pushed back my start time for inventory yesterday, was told to take today off, (thank you Dale and Randy Kemner!) and am slathering myself in oily Vicks rub in an effort to break this gunk up and be ready for tomorrow.
Pissy. I was pretty damned pissy all day. I could have been at work, I’m not all snot rockets and chest oysters, yet. I could have gone in and done something but….well I guess this is the slow time for the store. We don’t need all hands on any deck and I’m guessing no one wants to take any kind of wine advice from the Vicks stinking, nose blowing, fire breathing, pouty chunkster who is constantly flipping open her compact to make sure she doesn’t have a….”bat in the cave”. Real charmer, that’s me…
“You hungry? I can make lunch” my comment to my husband while still in my jammies, face all scrunched and feeling the kind of lost that comes when all the “going” stops. After an obligatory exchange of words wherein my husband acted like he “could” go out and pick us up something to eat, I shuffled my big fluffy sock wearing ass into the kitchen, clicked over the knob on my stove took a spoonful of “flavor” from its winter spot beside my stove, tossed it in a pan and let my blonde head bob in clicks, bacon drippings, Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies as a liquid to deglaze my pan, tender pasta, shaved cheese, chopped hunks of 48 hour rubbed pork ribs, canned sweet tomatoes and dried red pepper flakes. Lunch. Up long enough to make lunch and within hours, “So, you want me to make dinner?” pretty much sure I am a chick that needs like a purpose and junk….otherwise; I just sit around in thick layers of mentholated goo muttering and cursing. Happy fucking New Year right? If anyone is wondering how the hell it is that I am still married, and to a man that can’t keep his hands off me, all I can offer is, winter, sweaters, bowls of bacon drippings and the occasional bottle of Beaune Sizies and H. Billiot Grand Cru Brut Reserve. Oh, or these….
I went ahead and rolled little balls of leftover, intensely flavored morel mushroom risotto in egg and then breadcrumbs, and fried them….because, I mean really, why wouldn’t I? Served with a big salad of greens, celery, sweet green apples and crumbled blue cheese. There was pizzas too but who cares. Fried bits of steaming, creamy, melt in your mouth mushroom risotto and N.V. Camille Saves Grand Cru Carte d’Or Grand Cru Big Ass Full And Sexy Bubbly Wine, aint a summer dish and therefore, suits me just fine. With the tea cup ride that is the season finally over, or sadly over, still not sure which, I find myself grateful and yearning, longing and throbbing for another place to get lost and grateful for the bottles, clicks, bits of rendered pork and waiting plates that let me get lost in them….