it’s actually snowing: musings and fixings

1. I thought I was hallucinating Saturday morning when I heard the word “Cedar Rapids” drop from the lips of a CNN anchor. Granted, an anchor over at the meteorology desk. But still! She was telling us all about the cold front moving east through Omaha and right into our little college town. And presumably, on to New York and DC, which is why they care. Blizzard warnings on Saturday night, though it rained all morning and I didn’t really believe them. Until, right around one o’clock in the afternoon, the sheets of rain abruptly turned — transformed, really, in an instant — into white flurries. It’s like in Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty,” in the final battle scene when the good fairies wave their wands and Maleficent’s flying arrows become feathers. That quick. That’s how it started.

2. On reason I didn’t believe them: temperatures on Friday rose within spitting distance of 40 degrees. Forty degrees! This was huge. This was positively balmy. December in Iowa, and here I was forgoing gloves, scarf, hat, and even a coat. (Not a jacket, mind you; but a coat, yes.) Observation: I hope that when I move to New York, Massachusetts, or [fill-in-the-blank] next year, this sense of cold vs. warm sticks with me. I can go a long way if forty degrees stays my new sixty.

3. The “about” section up top mentions my search for “a butcher who who carves prosciutto.” I haven’t found that, but I did find, around this time last fall, La Quercia‘s packaged smoked meats. It’s made just down the road (…ish) in Norwalk, Iowa from pork sourced and slaughtered less than 200 miles away. And this little piggie that could has made its way to the big city. Jeffrey Steingarten, professional curmudgeon and the man who ate everything calls it “the best prosciutto, domestic or imported, you can get in America.” Mark Bittman calls it “a joy to taste.” I buy it at our hippie co-op, and in fact when I first asked the butcher for a recommendation, he pointed to La Quercia with the comment, “It’s been written up in the New York Times…” Do I walk around with a sign on my forehead? But no matter, this is great stuff.

4. Is it weird to have an opinion about flour? I know I have four in my cabinet — all purpose, whole wheat, bread, and rye, and the only reason I don’t have cake flour, too, is that you can make it at home! — but listen. When we were out of all purpose the other week, I picked up a bag at the hippie co-op. Because it is a hippie co-op, they only have organic kind: unbleached, unprocessed, all sorts of un’s. Frankly, I don’t totally understand the real world effect of these abundant un’s, but I love this flour. I makes my pizza crusts wonderfully light, even pillowy, and for some reason incorporates the wine and water so much more smoothly and softly than your typical Pilsbury. I mention dough, not cakes and cookies, because I actually notice a difference while I’m kneading. (And I don’t knead cake batter, sorry kids.) What is unbromated? I don’t know, but it’s what I’m buying from now on*.

5. I got a manicure two weeks ago. This is how it looked on Friday, that’s thirteen days after the salon visit.

Leaving aside my creepy spider hands, how amazing is that? This is the first time ever that I have taken off a nail polish because I got sick of the color, not because of ugly chipping — and this two weeks after! The color is “Big Apple Red,” and the long-wear is courtesy of OPI’s new line of gels, Axxium. The polish comes in a little pot, and the manicurist actually paints it on a with a little paintbrush. Once it’s dry, it’s immediately hardened, and you can actually root around in your purse for car keys, peel stickers off CDs, and do all the things that normal manicures wimp out on. I am big fan. I am spreading the gospel.

Enjoy your lazy, and perhaps snowy Sunday.


*I did some research. Gold star, please? Further reading here and here. The gist is: Bromates are artificial aging agents, blah blah blah, oh and potentially carcinogenic. So, um, steer clear of bromated flours, I suppose.


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