On Eating and Loving Food

Popcorn, cocoa, pizza, manhattans, Christmas, and a snowstorm

Posted:  Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 10:45am
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Thanks to Facebook I was recently reminded of a story I wrote four years ago – probably my first – when I was still doing graphics. It was published on Dec.15, 2013, and I was thrilled to see something I had written on the Boothbay Register website.

Fast forward to Dec. 15, 2017. By then I had written hundreds of stories, and almost two years’ worth of columns, like this one.

I still get a little thrilled when I first see one of my stories, or columns, with words that came straight out of my head, (but for quotes) and photos that came right out of my iPhone, on the website.

And this is the truth: Just before that story, titled “Weathering the storm,” appeared at the top of my Facebook page, with a message from someone (probably a robot) at Facebook, that read something like, “We cherish your memories, Suzi! Here’s one from four years ago ...” I had come up with the idea of making this column about popcorn and cocoa.

As I said in the story, published again below, whenever I’m holed up in my house during a snowstorm, I need popcorn and cocoa. It’s one of those childhood traditions that took hold and has never let go.

I have always loved snowstorms. As a child it meant no school, and skiing. A snowstorm, especially early in the winter when I’m sitting inside a warm house, makes me feel at peace. And popcorn and cocoa just add to the overall feeling of contentment.

Everybody has a favorite way to eat popcorn. I’m not a fan of colorful, flavored popcorn. Luckily, for Julie Roberts, I’m pretty much outvoted on that score. I think I’m the only person on the peninsula who only likes plain ol’ popcorn with butter and salt.

I used to have a babysitter who LOVED a LOT of butter on popcorn. She’d pop a batch in a big pan with oil and melt a whole stick of butter for it. It was outrageous, but I can’t bring myself to make it that way these days – saturated with butter.

I have a cool, heavy-duty plastic air popper that I found in the closet of my old office at the Boothbay Register. My old roomie in that office, Ben Bulkeley, dubbed it The Thunderdome. Ben and I had a lot of fun in that office. We shared a silly, ridiculous sense of humor. Then he went off and married another co-worker, Nicole. I miss them both.

Anyway. That popcorn popper in the closet had belonged to Bill Harris, who died and left me his office and popcorn popper. Bill was a great guy, and well-loved by many in Boothbay Harbor. I had to forfeit The Thunderdome a few years ago, but I still have the popper :-)

So, a snowstorm, hot popcorn with butter and salt, a cup a cocoa, a comfy couch, a sweet little dog and kitty, a good movie on Netflix, and I’m good to go.

Hope you like this story, that made me realize I still had a brain, and took me on a whole new path that I had never known existed: A road untraveled.

Weathering the storm

I wake up and remember the weather forecast. Ten to 14 inches of snow. I snuggle into the warmth under the fluffy white comforter and imagine the cold of the fluffy white snow piling up outside the window. I hear the icy wind blowing, then the counter attack of the furnace firing up in the basement.

My little dog, Elliot, has worked his way under the covers and is looking at me from the passenger side pillow. He's been the only passenger in that spot for a while now, which is fine with both of us. I get up and quickly open the bedroom door to allow in the kitties, Pokie and Ruby-Two-Shoes. It's cold outside the bed. I scurry back under the covers.

I'm glad I had the foresight to order oil last week, and to have the original wavy glass windows in this 1930s bungalow replaced with less aesthetically pleasing thermopane ones last winter.

I try to stop this line of thinking and empty my mind so I can go back to sleep for another hour or so.

It doesn't work. It's Sunday. No work. I braved the frigid cold first thing yesterday morning and drove 10 miles to get a Christmas tree from my favorite Christmas tree guy, who sets up a spot on Route 1 just south of Wiscasset each year.

They're not the perfect full, cone-shaped beauties my brother always gets, but the price is right, and I like the challenge of a Charlie Brown tree. Maybe it's the artist in me. I have amassed a motherlode of exquisite ornaments and I know once they've all been placed in strategic locations no one will notice the imperfect tree.

I set up the tree last night and strung the lights. I got groceries yesterday with thoughts of a snowy day, ensconced inside. I have popcorn and cocoa, a childhood combination that was a necessity on a snow day. I have fresh pizza dough and fresh mozzarella for later (I also have whiskey, sweet vermouth, blood orange bitters and a cherry for later).

I remember I stocked up on frozen Eggo waffles and turkey bacon too. And “The Today Show” will come on shortly.

More sleep is not in the cards. There are things to do.

It's time to get up and weather the storm.

Winter is here.

Merry Christmas. See ya next week.