Something for the winter coldBy PEGGY SIMS,
This is the time of year that we are between seasons and holidays.
Here in Mississippi, it may be spring one day, summer one day, and then truly winter the next. One day last week, we had our air conditioner on and just last night we had a roaring fire in our fireplace. I never know how to dress and I never put up one season of clothes as I wear all four seasons during the winter season.
As I watch the weather news on television and I see all the snow, it is just beautiful.
I am not sure if I would enjoy living where it could be sub-zero temperatures for days on end, but I would like for us to get at the least one good snow every once in a while. It seems it may have snowed more during my childhood than it does now — or at least I seem to remember it so well.
I can remember the winter when I was five years old and we lived in an old house just outside the city limits. It was not insulated and had high ceilings and a few cracks in the floors and windows. Wind howled through the small openings. We woke up to snow — a big snow — one morning and everything was frozen, including our water and especially the wood outside with which we fueled our old wood heater. It was the only heat we had, and it was also frozen together and covered in ice and snow.
My mother and I were sick with the flu at the time and were in bed to stay warm. The "front" room served as our bedroom and living area, so the stove was across the room from our beds. The wood was so wet and frozen my daddy had to pour lots of starter fluid on it to get it to burn. When he struck the match, the force from the lighting fire projected him backwards into the bed with a bang.
I can remember not being able to go outside and play in the beautiful white snow because I was sick.
We had quite a few snows during the years we lived in Arkansas and they were always quite a few inches. Our boys loved being able to go outside and play in the white stuff.
We learned to drive in the slick, slippery ice while we were there. But then I remember once it snowed here a few years ago, it seemed we were all paralyzed as to how to maneuver on the icy roads. The cars were struggling to get up the hill from the old water and light building as their tires were slipping and sliding all over the road.
My grandmother's house was very old and so cold in the winter time. I do not remember being there during a snow, but I do remember some very cold mornings waking up to find ice covering some of the cracks in the old wood floor.
My granddaddy would have to break the ice in the deep well with the wooden ice bucket to pull the cold water to the surface.
The only heat for their house was a big stone wood fire place in the front room. But once the fire was started and she had the fire in the old wood stove going with the blue coffee pot setting on one of the back eyes, the house — especially in the kitchen and front room — was warm.
Now we are all spoiled. I sure am, with central heat and electric blankets to keep us warm and toasty.
My husband is cold-natured and he wants the heat on about 69 degrees at night and I need to sleep with it rather cool, so cold in fact that my nose is always cold to the touch. He turns the heat up as he goes to bed but he is asleep before me and the heat always gets turned down to 67 degrees.
Maybe we will get our snow in January and get to build snowmen and slip and slide on the icy roads.
I still have a little ham left from Christmas and this is a great way to use it - so good!
Ham and Potato Soup
3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced ham
3 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
5 T. butter
5 T. flour
2 cups milk (I like to use evaporated milk)
Combine potatoes, celery, onion, ham, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are soft. Add salt and pepper.
Separately melt butter and whisk in flour and cook until thick. Stir in milk and stir and simmer until thick.
Add the milk mixture to the ham and potatoes mixture and cook for about 5 minutes.
I like to serve this with cornbread, but crackers are good, too.