Monday, March 10, 2008

Snowed In—Again

Ohio got more than its share of snow these last few days with record-setting snow fall from top to bottom. Airports in Cleveland and Cincinnati and points in between were closed, and my patio table was covered over in measurable stages. See?

This is what it looked like Friday around 4:00. I went to the grocery store that morning to stock up for the weekend, thinking I might not be able to get out later. I was right, and half the town agreed with me. There were more shopping carts in the aisles than I believe I have ever seen, and I had to park nearly a block from the front door.

This is what my poor table looked like the next morning after hours of freezing rain chiseled away at the pile of snow from the day before. Over night, we actually had thunder snow, which is something I don't recall witnessing before. It's a little creepy to see lightning and hear thunder during a whiteout. It seems to defy the laws of nature, but this is March. All kinds of weird weather things happen in March when it morphs from lion to lamb.

And this is the table near the end of the snowfall late Saturday afternoon. The pile on top measured nearly 12 inches. It's going to reach the 40s next week, so all of this melted snow will be just lovely on top of last weeks flooding.

One thing I noticed about myself when I am snowed in—I cook. I cook like I'm feeding the nation, not so much in volume but in intent. I have made enchiladas, pico de gallo, a batch of chocolate chip cookies, Ina Garten's turkey meatloaf, potatoes gratin with Gruyere, caramelized onion quiche, chicken curry strudel, and a pitcher of orange iced tea.

I remember a Garrison Keillor story that narrated a winter night in Minnesota, with the main character snug at home making a big pot of soup. She made extra in case a needy person were to knock on her door in need of food. It's ridiculous to think that might happen. There are needy people in my town, and not one of them has ever literally knocked on my door hoping for a share of my dinner. But the story resonated with me because I think that same thing from time to time. Sharing my meal seems to be in the back of my mind more often when it's cold and inhospitable outside than when it's sunny and warm and sleeping out under the stars is appealing. I look at the extra serving in the dish and secretly wish someone in need would show up on my front porch so I could share.

During the Great Depression, my mother's family lived on a sparse farm in Alabama. They just barely had enough to feed themselves—sometimes only a glass of milk with cornbread for dinner—but when wandering men stopped by and knocked on my grandmother's door, and they actually did, she never turned them away. In those days, hobos marked friendly houses and farms with secret symbols to let the next man know he could get at least a piece of bread there, or maybe he couldn't and should just keep walking, and mind the mean dog tied up by the barn. I suspect there was one of those friendlier symbols on my grandmother's front gate.

I'm thinking about hanging one of them on my front door so on nights when a foot of snow is falling outside with the wind gusting at 20 miles an hour, and I am making a cozy dinner of meatloaf and cheesy potatoes inside, people will know they can stop buy to get warm and to have a little dinner. I've made plenty.


lynn said...

That's a very sweet thought Robyn, just be careful who comes in i guess. I am at once shocked and excited at the sight of your snow. I'm glad you got to the supermarket first and that's my only worry. The rest; well, it's FUN !! Yay all that gorgeous snow. Wow. I feel like i'm six and i'm just looking at it. Don't you think the words 'snowed in' are just sooooo cosy? mmmmm home-baked cookies by Robyn, a warm fire, lots of books... can i come?

dive said...

I'm going have to hitch up my huskies to my sled and race Lynn to Ohio for some of that yummy curried chicken strüdel, Robyn!

Utsav said...

Robyn, you need someone to feed- look no further! Poor (in both senses), unemployed, dying for food that doesn't have my tummy in flames the rest of the day- I'm your man!

And while I'm at it, how about a ticket to Ohio too? From that menu, I'd love to be snowed in with you!

Joy said...

It is quite freakish weather here in Norwich, too. I mean, come on, it's spring already. And throughout winter, I never felt cold, but now that we're into March, I keep brrr-ing! How odd.

Hey, Robyn, would love some of the cookies and the gratin! Yum yum yum!

A Pinay In England
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Norwich Daily Photo

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Meatloaf and cheesy potatoes! Oh rotter! I'm stuck with soggy fish and chips again and gale-force winds.

Scout said...

Lynn, lots of places get far more snow than this, but this amount closes down the place. We aren't used to it. Stop by anytime. I'll make more cookies.

Dive, the curry probably isn't what you're used to, but I'll make some more of that, too.

Utsav, I doubt you'd want to come to Ohio. Our unemployment situation isn't so great at the moment. Oddly, people are complaining that jobs have left for China and India.

Joy, I've read about your weather. It sounds kind of scary.

Mermaid,soggy anything is unpleasant. Just the word "soggy" is unappetizing.

And to all of you but Utsav, I've just realized you all live in England. What's up with that? Be careful in your big storm.

Alifan said...

Robyn!! sending hugs to you with all your sign of a snowman, perhaps Dive and Full could come and show you how!!!!

Like you bad weather sees me in the kitchen baking.. I sometimes feel sorry for people who do not bake, as it is such a great pleasure when the storms are outside and you are lovely and warm in the kitchen...

Take care .......

Cheri said...

What a lovely story. From start to finish.

Gina said...


I can't fathom that snow.

I have noticed that I tend to bake when it rains. Which is really bad for the waistline.

Mme Benaut said...

All that food sounds so delicious Robyn and just what is needed when so much snow abounds. At least you don't need to water the garden! We, on the other hand are finding it too hot to cook much in the kitchen at present and it takes me about 2 hours to do all the watering because of our water restrictions meaning that all watering must be done by hand held hose (for the over 60's) or by bucket!! So I cooked corned beef on Monday which we had with cold chicken and salad for dinner last night (followed by Cherry Ripe icecream).

Lulubelle B said...

Brr...reminds me of my childhood and college years. Happily, we're having a mild winter this year. Have a mug of real hot cocoa - it will warm you body & soul.

- Lulu

lynn said...

Wow a 'more cookie' offer from Robyn! How i wish i was round the corner.