Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Winter Wear (and Tear)

In my experience, careful attention to life support and pedestrian transportation keep metabolism at its best during the dark days of winter cold. I speak as a fifth-generation western Washingtonian who has listened to many a recent arrival bemoan seasonal affective disorder.

Light therapy and medication did not exist when my elders were protecting their families from the subtle despair of borderline malnutrition and equally borderline hypothermia. Firelight is no small ally. Set tea lights in votives (small canning jars or, ideally, fake snowballs molded out of clear glass) on a highly polished brass tray if you don't have a real hearth. Wear wool if you can tolerate it. There is no substitute. Wool costs less per use than fleece.

I find it easiest to monitor and plan my food consumption if I avoid alcohol, recreational drugs, and commercial food. My alma mater recently advised shunning media and burying myself in the library-a bonny move, it turns out. Life in the slow lane is healthy and profitable.

The pantry is stocked with the basics of low-tech nineteenth century life support. Dried and canned staples protect inventory from power outages. Smoked pork and salmon products supply ready protein. This is as old-school as Seattle can be. The current breath taking abundance of fresh market vegetables and fruits, not to mention the local coffee supply, provides the other half of the best of both worlds.

Disconnecting the television has freed the time and attention I need to visualize the down home cuisine I most enjoy when the weather is foul and the sky too dark. Small appliances like an electronic pressure cooker provide the unattended back of the cook stove slow food I learned to appreciate over a winter spent snowbound gazing at ten-foot icicles. That was a happy period, one I have found simple to recreate a stone's throw from downtown -30-

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