Old...boring...lackluster. These three words are synonymous with the doldrums of winter. It’s cold. It’s dreary. It’s a bad time of year. Nothing to do but stay inside and stay warm. What has happened to us? Have we become so entrenched in our daily lives that we have forgotten just how fun winter can be?
How about these three words: Young….exciting….hopeful? Think back to how you felt (not so many years ago) when the TV weatherman’s forecast called for big snowstorm to hit? Remember the jubilation of knowing that school would be undoubtedly cancelled the next day? Oh, the joy of grabbing my sled and meeting up with the throngs of local neighborhood kids, sledding at impossible speeds down Wellesley’s many hills. All of this, was mostly forgotten until just the other day.
In a recent post, Wine and Puppies – A Prescription for Health, I introduced you to Buddy, a dog that my wife and I have been dog sitting. Buddy is 13 years old. Allegedly, that’s 91 to you and me, and for a little tyke; this guy has more energy than most people in their 30’s! Well, a few days ago I caught this nonagenarian in our back yard doing something I had not seen in years. Buddy was making a doggie snow angel! No, I am not kidding. With complete excitement, a smile and overabundance of satisfaction, Buddy rolled from side to side, over and back again and then leapt from his position to reveal what could only be described as a perfect doggie snow angel. Think about it, when was the last time you made a snow angel? Me neither. But watching this 91 year old, was a moment of pure nostalgia for me.
This experience got me thinking about some of the things that, we as adults, may have forgotten. When was the last time you played in the snow? When was the last time you climbed a tree to pick an apple (we are in New England after all) or simply recreate a meal from your past whose very thought brings back a sense of youth and exuberance? Seeing this, made me think about my younger days living in Switzerland where I attended University. Remember college! God, what would I would give to go back to those days... but I digress.
Harkening back to my college days, there are three basic parts to the Swiss experience. Rolling hills filled or partially filled with snow, Cheese and Ale. Oh, and more Cheese. One of my favorite foods during that time is a cheese dish called Raclette. In its most traditional form, it’s served in a rustic wooden ale house which has stood for at least 400 years. There is a roaring fire in the fireplace and wooden booths and tables. It is basically this: you have steamed red bliss potatoes, cornichon pickles, marinated onions, heavenly fresh bread, and the piece de resistance is a very portly woman who brings a half wheel of cheese over with the open face bubbling and oozing from being heated next to that roaring fireplace. With no effort at all she scrapes a messy wad of cheese onto your plate and then she is off. Now for the good part! Let’s eat! So you mix the cheese with the assorted condiments (pickles and such) and eat to your heart’s content. And did I mention the most important ingredient in the whole dish? Lots and lots of wine or what I prefer with this meal – ALE. When I say ale, I mean it. Hand crafted, served in huge liter mugs which are almost too cold to grab on to! Without much ado, songs of all nationalities break out (these places are often filled with Germans, French, Italians and the odd American like myself.) People drinking, eating and for a short while forgetting international politics. Ah the memories...
So what does this have to do with a small dog and a snow storm? Snow Angels my friends, Snow Angels.
If you’d like attempt to recreate raclette for yourself and you want my recommendation for Raclette suitable ales we carry, please leave a comment.
As always, we’d love to hear from you and thanks, see you soon.