Hunker in the Bunker

June 5, 2007 at 2:11 am (Uncategorized)

This is a lovely time of year. It’s the beginning of winter, but so far this year, unlike last, it’s a beautiful, clear winter in Sydney. We’ve had weeks of unbroken, glorious sunshine taking the edge of the bitterly cold bookends of the day. I know as an Australian it is my civic duty to pray for rain, but, just quietly, I’m a sun-lover. I like my days hot and blinding. I don’t mind the occasional downpour – and let’s face it: winter attire is far more attractive than summer (why haven’t shorts just been outlawed by international treaty?) – and an open fire is one of the highlights of the year, but I’ll take our big blue sky belting through the ozone layer over heavily sodden jeans any day.

But one of the things I do really like about winter is the chance to hunker in the bunker. We spend more time in during winter, and I love my little home, so spending more time in it than usual is the real boon of this time of year. We don’t have an open fire, sadly (although we have two fireplaces, neither of which is even remotely decorative, so one would presume they once had some utility), but we do have two wonderfully effective gas heaters at either end of the place. There’s something so comforting about snuggling down in a warm place on a cold night. It feels so safe and soothing.

And then there’s the joy of winter food. Comfort food. I love it. Last night I made a kind of shepherd’s pie. Winter food if ever I’ve seen it. We’re roasting all our vegetables now instead of having them cold in salad. We’re loading up on pasta and rice and curries and potatoes. There’s stocks and gravies and mint jellies. Self-saucing puddings and custard. It’s a veritable comfort cornucopia ’round here at the moment, and it’s just day 5 of the season. It’s just so much more satisfying – all that steam rising from the plate, all those aromas of delicious cooked things. Summer cooking is often about eating things cold and raw. They just don’t smell as good. I defy anyone to stand blindfolded before a slow-cooked pot of beef stew redolent with red wine, and a plate of cold meat and salad, and not choose the stew. I would choose the stew. I would want to bury my entire head in the pot and start slurping. Winter is a time to roll around in wool and food. To that extent, I say bring it on.

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