Snow in the city is dirty. It will soil your shoes, your gloves, your stoop, your snowballs.
Suit up and put your game face on, or that black — and sometimes salty blue — stuff they call snow might stain a piece of your soul, too. It feels little like the soft, white flakes that flow quietly to country lands. Lands where cars stay stationary, kids go sledding and firesides roar.
Yet snowfall in the city can also be a magical experience. I see this in ways far different than where I grew up. It comes in ways that remind me why I’m carrying out my youthful years in an urban setting.
For one, while schools might shut down, often the community does not. Where I currently live, on snow days restaurants often remain open. They fill up with afternoon conversation. At the corner of my block, a place lights its fireplace and spreads out its board games. Beer is poured. Coffee is served. Warmth, both literally and socially, can be found in abundance.
My neighborhood’s yoga studio powers through with an evening session taught by a local teacher. I go, as do others, to fill the class, and practice while gazing out the window at the falling white flakes. They remain clean as they hang in the air, and it’s in this moment that I feel like I am “home” again. Back in the country enjoying a piece of serenity.
Following class, I rejoin the bustle. I meet a friend up the street at the fireplace for a beer and a game and good company. And again I remember, this is why I love the city.
The start of this year has been a rough one in terms of the weather. I loathe winter. I could do without snow, and even seasons too if I really had to.
Yet, I am constantly reminded of why I still remain on the East Coast, in a state that won’t let me scoot by without being cold, in a city that I’ve grown to love. Surrounded by friends, and not far from family, I’ve learned to survive the cold seasons and even admire some of its parts I hate the most. Snow too has its place, and for now, it seems to be a significant part of my life…like it or not.
So until I get the guts to move far, far away to a new city in warmer lands, you can find me coping in my current city with my baking gear and measuring cups. When snow falls, cooking and tea and adventuring all call — usually in that order, too.
These were whipped up during our last winter storm here in Philly. They make for a healthy snack or breakfast, and are definitely going on my repeat recipe list. Made with antioxidant-rich curry powder and mostly raw ingredients (excluding the peanut butter), their packed with energy. The good kind. The kind you might need to get you through a long winter. Only 31 official days left. Not that I’m counting down or anything.
- -1/4 cup pitted dates
- -1 cup old-fashioned oats
- -1/3 cup dried cranberries
- -1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
- -1 tsp. cinnamon
- -1 scant tsp. curry powder
- -Salt, to taste
- -1/3 - 1/2 cup peanut butter (start with 1/3 cup)
- -2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- -2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- -1/4 cup coconut flakes
- Place dates in a food processor, and process until broken down.
- In a large bowl, stir together oats, cranberries, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and curry powder. Sprinkle salt around the bowl to season. Add dates and maple syrup.
- Use a wooden spoon (or clean hands) to start mashing the peanut butter into the oats. Start with 1/3 cup. If the mixture feels to dry, add a bit more. Consistency should be stiff but adhesive and able to mold together.
- Place in large bread loaf pan or baking pan. Press down with spoon to compact. Scatter sesame seeds and coconut flakes on top, and gently press with your hands to get them to stick to the bars.
- Use a knife to cut into squares. Refrigerate for at least one hour. (I like to freeze them for 45 minutes or so to really cement their form, and then place them in the fridge. However, this step is by no means mandatory.) Eat and enjoy.