I start on the bottom, with the warmest long underwear money can buy. Over that go jeans or fleece-lined leggings—or both—and socks and leg warmers piled on by the twos. On top, after more long underwear, goes a Patagonia pullover that I zip up all the way to the tune of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” I buckle on my bomber hat and burrito my neck and head with a six-foot scarf. A puffy coat, mittens and boots complete the look. I am a monster ready for minus-20-degree weather.
A quick explanation for why I relocated from Brooklyn to East Grand Forks, Minnesota, the coldest town in the Lower 48: My husband, Nick, whom I met in college in New York City, is a fifth-generation sugar-beet farmer. No big move goes down without its hitches, but in general, the Midwest has engulfed me like a fluffy down blanket. When I’m live-streaming contemporary chamber music concerts from my bathtub, I feel like the only true downside of living here is the limited access to fresh vegetables during the long winter months.
- Halvah-Stuffed Challah
- Chicken Paprikash
- German Chicken Soup with Dumplings
- All of the Alliums fried Rice
Come the first frost, most of my vegetables are hiding in cartons deep in the back of my freezer or in cans in my pantry, where the house’s previous occupants left a handwritten label for Cream of Mush. Onions and other alliums are some of the few truly enjoyable vegetables we have access to all winter, so we go through them by the dozen. The happiness I get from that first whiff of buttery onion makes using frozen blocks of spinach and herbs by the cube much, much easier.