Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Start of a Winter and My New Love of the Softly Scrambled

If it was just a matter of identifying that new chill in the air, or trying to explain this sudden urge to embrace it with caramel colored sweaters, I'd tell you that it is Fall in Anchorage.

But the ground is definitely much too cool to be walking barefoot, even over those parts of the lawn that get the day's brightest beams of sun. The ground is cold - ice cold. Gloves and hats are a standard accroutement for mornings and nights, and I suppose even a lot of the days. Tour busses have disappeared. Bars have been restored to their core of regulars. Stores are restocking shelves with goods that are more likely to entice locals than thrill tourists. The price of everything is just a little bit cheaper. My neighbor has mowed his lawn for the last time this year. The picnique table has been moved back to its seasonal perch under the overhanging protection of a big Spruce tree.

But even more than that - it can't just be Fall because there's also the realization that we are well into that time of the year when we are waking up in the dark. We know that in a matter of time, we'll also be spending most of our waking hours in the dark too.

Some say that this is the toughest part of living up here - the dark. Part of me agrees. It is tough to wake up and drag yourself to work and know that the 3 hours of sunlight will be long gone before you get to go anywhere near home. It makes you tired. It makes me addicted to bacon. I'll be honest - it's a bit worse than a mere addiction to bacon. There was a time in the depth of my first winter that I was really scared that the sun would never return and that I might permanantly remain a biscuit-baking hermit with bad hair roots. But part of me loves the dark season - and the chance it gives you to slow down, and breathe, and engage in hobbies, and hone one's wit and read your books, and cook big simmering castiron pots of stews, and write long entries in journals. It's a period of nesting, I guess. Building up the reserves of independence and personality.

And, of course, another part of me sort of realizes that the dark makes everyone just a bit crazy, and it's nice to have that kind of license.

Maybe it's the chill. Maybe it's the dark. But it's definitely the start of winter and it's inevitable craving for warm and substantial foods.

This morning I brightened up my pre-sunrise hours with milky tea, Vogue, and two eggs on toasted Alaskan sourdoug - softly scrambled eggs, with a gentle fold-in of my neighbor's last harvest of parsley, fresh pepper, and romano cheese.

It was a very simple breakfast. Eggs on toast. But these were "softly scrambled", in accordance with a trick I read last night in French Food at Home by Laura Calder: lowest possible heat and stirring in the milk (Oregon organic) and a dollop of Tillamook butter just as the eggs were about to set.

One would think that this mid-set addition of milk wouldn't make such a difference from my habit of adding the milk to the eggs before I pour them in the pan. But it did. Such a difference. I also added some of my neighbor's last-harvest-of-the-year parsley. Laura Calder suggested that the heat be so low that it takes 20 minutes of stirring for the eggs to set. And I was enjoying the Vogue so much that I hoped it would take 20 minutes of patiently stirring and eagerly reading. It took a little less, which I suppose is a good thing as it allowed me plenty of time to properly relish the eating part of this morning.

And with my belly warmed up with a new and improved favorite winter traditions of the "softly scrambled" egg on toast, I was delighted to then discover on my way to work that the neighbors have already started turning on their Christmas lights.

[P.S. Note the language - up here, it's a matter of "turning on" the Christmas lights. The neighbors don't take them down in the summer months of perpetual daylight, they simply turn them off until we go back into the majority months of escalating darkness when its the "fairy lights" (I love the British term) that are perpetual.]


Blogger FishTaxi said...

Hi peeps,

Glad to see you posting again.

I like to add a dollop of mayo to my softly scrambled eggs. A friend showed me that trick and I've been doing it ever since.


2:17 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

Wow, cool, I've never had eggs like that. I will definitely have to try. Enjoy your writing. Can't imagine having so few hours of daylight, though I must say I tend to prefer the dark :) I love daylight savings in the fall and pushing the clock back an hour.

10:43 AM  
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11:37 PM  
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