YOLO French Onion Soup

The deep, freezing cold that had been lingering for over a week finally went away, if for a few days. While 28 degree mornings are still chilly, they are a marked improvement over 5 degrees. Spots of bitter cold will return here and there, but we may be past the worst stretch of it for this year. February marches on, and soon enough it will be March and April, still cold but filled with crocuses and signs of spring.

Deciding we needed to occasionally get out and be actual humans, Eli and I we decided to spend a quite literal 40 minutes in the Peabody Essex Museum yesterday afternoon (remember museums? One of my most-loved trappings of before times, I had almost forgotten. The PEM and I have been friends since I was a child, so it was especially poignant), followed by shopping for some fancy cheese and edible accoutrements for Valentine’s day, a holiday I normally shun but this year we’re celebrating with some level of gusto. Celebrations make pandemic-ing more fun, so I’ll take whatever. And this week we will also celebrate my daughter’s birthday, so my party hat is going on and it’s not coming off for a little while, no matter what happens in the world around us.

So when Valentine’s Day did roll around, we sat in front of a fire, watching a Star Wars movie, and eating really good cheese and French Onion Soup. As days go, pretty good.

Despite worry about variants and a large variety of other political, social and environmental crises, I’ve decided to feel hopeful about vaccines and the future.

We’ve started planning some summer trips, and for a point in time when we can be with people again. I don’t expect life to get back to normal for a while yet, and I do suspect that we’ll be getting vaccinated on the regular for new variants of Covid-19, much like a flu shot, but I also think there will be a point in which we can go use up all the hotel, airline and car rental points that I accumulated in the before times when I traveled for work. We are also picking through the various home improvement/maintenance options to settle on what projects we try to take on before kids arrive, which should be any time after August 1, our artificially selected ‘we’re open for children’ date.

I’m sure it will be a good idea to gut the kitchen between now and then. What could possibly go wrong?

In short, I’ve decided that optimism, despite all the things to worry about, is the only way to go. It is cadenced optimism though – we’re deeply invested in our food supply, in financial security, in a more sustainable living model. Balancing all of those things plus all the small notebooks, unnecessary but lovely smelling candles and additional fleece sweatpants I want to buy, along with the 2 1/2 weeks in Greece I fully intend to spend at some point in the next 5 years so I can wear giant floppy hats and bandeau-style swimwear while pretending to be carefree and as if there won’t be a huge pile of laundry waiting for me when we return won’t be easy, but I’m going for it.

Can one have cadenced optimism and still toss in a big bucket of oh-what-the-hell decisions? I think that latter thing arrived between the squirrel event I last blogged about and the point at which, deciding it was late enough in the afternoon for wine this weekend, I mindlessly started pouring it into my coffee mug. Which, if you think about it, is just damn efficient. I can go straight from caffeine to booze without breaking stride or wasting dishes.

It might have been in some part due to the soup as well. I tried out a new French Onion Soup for Valentine’s Day, and while i can affirm it was delicious, and the fresh thyme a perfect flavor addition, it was accompanied by a very loud SNORT as I read how I should first make bone broth. “Oh Epicurious, how I love you, I thought, but really – just eff off. I have enough to do these days.” and proceeded to dump in some lovely boxes of beef broth from the store in it’s place. Last Week Me would have run out to buy some soup bones, and probably Epicurious is right, it would have been better if I did. Yesterday Me can’t be bothered.

Because Yesterday Me, like Today Me…is.just.over.it.

Today me wants to regularly eat meals other people prepare, go shopping for some useless things and generally forget about pandemics, civil unrest and our disastrous climate future in exchange for some new really soft pants with drawstrings and a total lack of obligation to everyone and everything.

Except not really. I mean, yes to the soft pants and restaurants again someday. It’s just that the world has been a teensy bit relentless lately but I still want to generally be the kind of person who makes my soup from homemade bone broth. To put effort into my amazing husband and beloved children and my home. And it’s almost time to start seedlings again. But with pandemic-ing and winter is a touch of ‘oh fuck it’ too.

So if you find me with a glass of wine on a beach on some island this summer while some lovely human is taking a sledgehammer to the kitchen, don’t be shocked. And in the meantime, try the soup. And make the broth from scratch, because it’s probably better that way.