Now, I lived in the Cleveland, OH area for a year. During an extraordinarily cold year. With no car. A mile walk from anything. I’ve seen some snow.
Cleveland also has more snowplows in a square quarter-mile than my old home town has in the entire county.
So, I was snowed in for a few days, thanks to 6+” of snow with a significant amount of ice to boot (it just had to have ice, didn’t it?!). I had my blinds open, watching it come down for about 24 hours. And I made soup. Lots of soup. Vegan gumbo, to be precise.
Back in the spring, summer, and fall, I was a member of the Goat Lady CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). If you aren’t familiar with CSA, you should be! They’re wonderful magnificent magical things. You pay an upfront fee at the start of the season and you get a box of produce each week. You don’t get to pick what’s in it, which is what makes it fun! You learn to like new things and learn new methods of cooking so you don’t get bored. For about a month or so, though, in every box there was a big ol’ bag of okra. Now, I love me some okra. Growing up, it was only a half-joke in the family that the only green vegetables I would eat were fried okra and green Jello. But now? To go through the whole process of frying, ugh. No. So my options were to either heat up my kitchen in August stewing those okra pods away (preferably in tomatoes), or blanch them to freeze for a gumbo this winter. Yeah, I opted for the latter. Boy am I glad I did. This was unbelievably delicious.
A roux-thickened tomato and vegetable broth base, loads of thyme, a hint of bay, plenty of smoked hot and sweet paprika, and more garlic and onions than you can imagine. Throw in the chunks of okra and heaps of kidney beans and you have a rib-sticking soup to keep you warm.
After this, I proceeded to put on my PJ’s, make a glass of hot tea, and watch a movie. That’s definitely a perk to the south: you get to enjoy snow.