Vermont in the dead of winter is COLD. But after years of 40-degree, rainy Seattle winters, I love it. Living here has definitely made me appreciate the seasons. Ask anyone in Seattle if there are four seasons, and they’ll say no. There are only two seasons: the cold rainy season and the slightly warmer rainy season. Plus August. Anyways, 8-degree nights don’t happen at home.
But they do here.
It was date night the other night, and instead of going to a restaurant, we decided to have a picnic. Outside. At night. When it was 8 degrees. It was perfect.
We went to the local foods co-op, where I could easily spend hours walking up and down the five aisles, taking everything in a dreaming about what delicious food could be concocted from it. Instead of pursuing the aisles for exotic ingredients, though, that night we went for some picnic accoutrements. At the coop, they always have three hot soups to choose from. Granted, at least two of them inevitably have gluten in them. Sometimes all of them do. But we were lucky and picked up some Carrot Ginger Artichoke Soup. It’s not a flavor either of us would have chosen, but we decided to give it a try.
Of course you have to have something to dip into the soup. Crackers were out, as were NutThins, bread, and all of the usual suspects. Then I spied the plantain chips and slipped them into the basket. It was a good move. They might be my new favorite snack food (Inka Chips).
Some fresh sliced ham, an apple, a pear, and a bar of Theo dark chocolate later, we were ready to go. On the short jaunt over to our spot — there’s a gazebo outside of the church in the town center that is decorated with Christmas lights all winter. It’s beautiful — we both began to doubt ourselves. But after laying out a blanket, draping a few more around our shoulders, and lighting some plum spice tea candles — a gift from one of my best friends — it didn’t seem so cold anymore.
We took turns sitting in the candlelight, cutting off small pieces of fruit, wrapping them with ham, and feeding them to each other. We dipped plantain chips into the hot soup and took turns sipping from the warm cup. Between the good food and the company, the icy air seemed a lot warmer.
We walked home hand in hand. It was the perfect date.
Good food and good company really can make all of the difference.