This is one of my favorite images of Marilyn Monroe: lolling in a doorframe, awash in green, and decked out in a fur, a hopeful little strawboat hat, and a dash of lipstick. I imagine her seducing the precipice of spring as only she could. This time of year, as snow falls outside my window for the eighth time in a month, I cling to such glamour. It’s the sort only someone with Marilyn’s infectious capacity for joy and appreciation could muster.
While it is true that, if I did not love New York so much I would remain a conscientious objector to all things winter for the rest of my life, tromping through the snow yesterday to drink tea by a friend’s fireplace certainly conferred a Little Women-style joy. And on the subway later that day, looking around at everyone squeezed into mittens and scarves and hats and big squishy parkas filled me with an unspeakable tenderness. No matter how influential or world-weary or just plain wicked those humans might’ve been in other contexts, in that moment they looked like the innocent kindergarteners we all once were. Behold winter’s timeless, sweet-hearted melancholy.
We’re in the middle of a real cold snap here in New York City, and I’m not happy about it. Though I labor mightily to extract the glamour from all situations this weather leaves me in the lurch. First we had a snowstorm so severe that it forced me to resurrect the Pepto-Bismol pink floor-length parka that is so warm and indestructible that the New Englander in me can never rationalize chucking it. Then the temperature dropped below 10 degrees and I had to make chicken soup with rice. I’ve written of my great affection for soup in the past but chicken soup with rice is no joking matter. Not to be confused with chicken soup with noodles or cockaleekie or even the always-cheering matzoh ball soup, chicken soup with rice is a dish I reserve for the bowels of an ugly winter. I make it with such earnest ingredients as brown rice and organic kale and carrots and garlic and ginger because it is intended as an armor powerful enough to protect the extremities and immune system and, cliché be damned, soul from all those elements raging right outside my windows. Windows that are now steamed up from the stalwart soup simmering on my stove. It is a soup sure to put hair on your chest. Continue Reading →