The months of post-Christmas winter are always a lesson in presence for me. It’s easy for me to get fidgety, to start desperately longing for green grass and swimsuits and tomatoes. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t have two seed catalogs and a gardening to-do list sitting on my desk as I type this. But as a confessed lover of the seasons — all of the seasons — I do my best to bring my mind back to winter when I notice it starting to wander. This year I’m trying even harder to be present, right here, right now, basking in all the January-ness.
Citrus really helps me out with this. I’m always amazed at how the brightest and freshest of fruits are available in some of the darkest months. My counter is currently overflowing with Meyer lemons, which are being hoarded away for curd, and I’ve been known to squeeze the juice of an entire lemon into a loaf of banana bread during my weekend baking. I’m also daydreaming of a marmalade or two.
I’m the kind of person who daydreams of marmalade.
On Sunday nights, we roast an entire chicken, letting the bones steep on the stovetop all night long. We wake up on Monday mornings to the smell of rich stock and plans for a big-batch soup to get us through the week’s lunches. There’s also a lot of cooking with wine — red in a slow-cooked pot roast with carrots and potatoes, white in a pot of risotto with mushrooms and rosemary.
This winter I’m finding that the middle of the afternoon is a perfectly acceptable time for sitting in front of the fire, drinking hot chocolate and reading a stack of books that I’ve been meaning to get around to. It’s the first year I’ve lived in a house with a fireplace — a wood burning one, to boot — so I’ve been taking full advantage. If it were up to me I would have a fire burning day and night, simply for the crackles and the smoky aroma.
Spring may look bright and sparkly on the horizon, but I’m sure when it arrives I’ll get lost in nostalgia. It’s then that I’ll be glad I took the time to soak it in and be fully present. I’m sure I’ll be waxing on about fireplaces, scraping the bottom of my marmalade jars and remembering those sweet Meyer lemons but, to each season its own.
Laken Nix is a writer who believes in simple food, real wellness, and the art of making a home. She lives with her husband, Tyler, and their new baby daughter, May, in the deep south of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in a mid-century white house complete with magnolia trees and an ever-expanding vegetable garden.
Two Red Bowls is the genius behind the camera and recipe for these Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Chamomile Whipped Cream.