I have opened my window, and it is cold outside

13th February 2021

Getting a veg box typically means you’re getting seasonal veg, the veg that would grow in this climate at this time of the year. In the winter it is not an inspiring spread.

Celeriac is a bore of a vegetable. Supermarkets make it far easier to get out-of-season produce, why not eat lovely peppers all year round?

The alternative is to find exciting recipes that make use of this dour produce. I find recipe websites and blogs overwhelming and frustrating. There is too much choice and I don’t have any criteria to judge by.

The Food Almanac has helped me a lot. It puts seasonal produce in context. It describes the joy of sharp citrus fruits in January and how south-east Asia can provide many great ways to prepare February’s hardy greens. By connecting the weather and the tone of the season to the produce it offers, I suddenly have a whole image in my head of the experience of eating the meal, not just the pain of cooking it.

Almanacs have taken on a strange allure to me lately—the wisdom of the ages, chaptered up for the month you will need it most.

In How To Do Nothing, Jenny Odell talks about our disconnect from the natural world. How the changing seasons become a frustration when our jobs and technologies depend on us being consistent and predictable all year round.

I have at times felt frustrated that the cold (and my desire to hide indoors) makes it so hard for me to turn up for work. Damn the natural world for challenging my productivity! I have tried to fight against it: I insist that I carry on walking to work1 in frostbitten conditions; I ram on the heating until I can work in a T-shirt again.

Now I’m trying to appreciate, and revel in, the changing conditions. I have found the right wool jumper and an appreciation of the crisp cold air as I open my window in freezing conditions. It is fine, for I have a bowl of porridge.

  1. Not during the pandemic obviously.