Lettuce Eat Local
Benson nailed it when he said it’s “enormous cold” outside. You’ve heard about Jack Frost nipping at your nose, but he’s not stopping there — he’s coming for all of you. I went out to get the mail the other day, and while facing the wind on the way back it really felt like my eyeballs might be starting to freeze.
At this point any exposed skin is in danger of chilling and chapping in no time, but windchills like these are going to find you no matter what, through ski masks and scarfs and wool socks. Just today I learned the term “neck gaiter,” which if you’re behind the times like me, is what that fabric tube neckwear thing is called; it’s very different from a neck gator, but honestly if it’d help I’d consider wearing an alligator around my neck, too.
This might make it sound like I actually go outside in this frigid weather, but let me quickly correct any misconceptions and admit/declare that I absolutely do not. At least not in any capacity: I have to go “do my chores” once a day, but they should only take about ten minutes. Notice I say “should,” in recognition of the fact that breaking chicken buckets while desperately trying to get the ice block out before I turn into an ice block myself makes it take longer. I made the novice mistake of not putting my coveralls on the other day, and it was so cold that it eerily felt like I was running around with no pants on.
When do we cease to be the prairie and turn into a tundra?
We are not homebound, but clearly I’m not taking my two-year-old and two-month-old out extra in this frigid climate. The good news is that we can’t run out of milk (thanks to people like my husband who don’t get the option to stay inside no matter the temperature!) and there’s plenty of food (how weird is it that when I open the garage fridge it feels warm in comparison to the ambient temp?!). We’ve had snow days with cousins and friends, and snuggling my baby is the perfect way to warm up.
I’m definitely staying hydrated through constantly sipping copious amounts of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; it feels hard to get motivated enough to drink water for some reason, yet all these hot drinks have got me covered. Benson’s threshold for eating and drinking hot or even warm things is remarkably low, but no matter the weather, he still goes strong crunching on all his frozen snacks. I’ve considered recently that he has the same range of temperature tolerance as me, just lowered 50 degrees or so.
Which is why making snow cream was like his dream come true. Up until now the poor naive child has been perfectly happy eating bowls (or mitten-mouthfuls) of plain snow, but I knew we couldn’t keep passing up these perfect chances to deepen his experience of snow cream. Talk about a sustainable food source — milk and snow are currently endlessly renewable resources for us. There are all sorts of different ways to make snow cream, so we won’t run out of ideas there, either. I think as kids we used to do evaporated milk and sugar in the big yellow fix-n-mix bowl, but there’s also sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, coffee creamer, maple syrup, etc. Snow is a fairly tasteless blank canvas (or at least it should be…stay away from the flavored snow), so essentially anything works.
The real key to success is dressing warmly enough when you go out to get the snow, and getting a big enough bowl to ensure you don’t have to go out again.
Snow Cream Pudding
I gotta give you more than “stir sugar, cream, and snow together,” although I admit that this version isn’t much more. I’d never seen snow cream with pudding mix before, but it seemed like a good idea and this was definitely the right time to experiment. It’s a super easy way to get more flavor options (pistachio! lemon!), and fun for kids to be able to mix it up in their own bowls. Clearly this is a very seasonal recipe, so enjoy it while/if you can!
Prep tips: reserve/make a little chocolate pudding and drizzle it over the snow cream like chocolate syrup.
In your bowl, sprinkle in some pudding mix, and whisk in some milk — you can play with the amounts, since you can always add more of either, but a general ratio is 2 tablespoons pudding mix to ¼ cup milk. Add in some snow, stirring well so it’s all mixed. Taste, adjust as necessary, add toppings, eat. Benson turned his into an everlasting bowl as he kept adding more snow then more milk then more snow and so on.