Musing with Max

Musing with Max

January 26, 2014

A Winter's Tale

I've always liked winter. Have never been one of those people who get all depressed when the temperatures start to drop and just dream about the return of Summer and think about palm trees and beaches. You'd think I would be, considering that I grew up in Miami where it is always Summer. Yet that was the problem, it was always the same. There is a rare day here and there during the winter months when the temperatures might plummet to 50F or some such horror and then the residents go crazy, pull out the heavy coat and proceed to complain all day long...for that one day because the next day it's back to 80F. So when I moved to the Northeast I was ecstatic, I was going to get four seasons which are very well defined here and as far as I'm concerned, make the world go round, there's always a change. At first I especially looked forward to Winter, I could wear beautiful coats, scarves, hats, gloves, boots...and Winters here are pretty temperate, it's not New England. Except for this year. Single digit temperatures day after day after day for practically the entire month of January with strong winds which brings it into the minus category, and snow, snow, snow. Everywhere I look
I see this.

It's a blinding sea of white,

yes, beautiful but enough already. I'm tired of wearing my clunky snow boots and trying not to slip on the ice.
Not to mention the getup I throw on every morning to walk Max in 8 F weather, not to mention Max's misery at having to wear this
and the way his paws hurt when he walks on the ice

because he doesn't have any booties, at least not yet. So what to do to cure those Winter blues...I know, make soup

Mushroom Barley, adapted by me.

Soak some dried porcini mushrooms in warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes, chop coarsely and set aside. Saute some chopped onion in bacon fat until translucent, add about 1/2 cup of barley, shaking the pan around until coated with the fat. Add 4 cups of broth (any kind) or water and cook covered until the barley is tender, about one hour, Add the chopped mushrooms, season with salt & pepper, add about 1/2 to 1 cup of cream depending on how thick you want it to be. Heat through, eat and warm up.

Then finish it off with some hot chocolate made with chocolate from Spain.

and stare out the window at the turkeys on the front lawn.

Bring on February!


  1. Last year you had so much snow you were honorary New Englanders.
    When I was in NYC and saw all the dogs in coats I felt so guilty--my dogs never had coats. As though I'm admitting I didn't use car seats for the kids.

    Soup looks delicious. We had risotto tonight. Cold weather comfort foods.

    1. That was me being silly with the coat, it has a hood that he hates so I don’t button it on. It’s mainly for me..less dog to dry . The paws though I feel bad about, he starts hopping from one to the other and looking at me with those big sad doggie eyes, I rub them as we’re walking. I feel bad, he doesn’t understand.

      Meatloaf and mashed potatoes tonight. Winter is good!

  2. Replies
    1. Makes everything taste better. Wait til you hear this, the New York Times Magazine this Sunday had a recipe for …ready? Bacon-caramelized onion jam! I almost ate the page.

  3. When I was in NYC a few weeks ago, most of the dogs I saw had booties on. Those booties seem to make sense when the ground is so unfriendly (the dogs looked kinda cute with them on!). Maybe Max won't mind trying some on (he will probably throw a fit at first - what normal dog wouldn't!).

    1. A few years ago when we had a Winter with loads of snow and ice there was an article in the New York Times interviewing the city dog walkers. It was really funny, they had to put all this stuff on the dogs because the owners demand that they be dressed during that type of weather, the worst they said was putting the booties on, they just fight it. It's good for them though, the salt on the sidewalks burns their just don't understand. (and they do look adorable)