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Sticky candy, melting chocolate or popcorn kernels in your teeth?

I love going to the movies. There is something about sitting in the dark with strangers all being immersed in the same experience. The big screen and surround sound are fun, but they are just part of the ambience. The last part is crucial – movie snacks.

For me, popcorn at a movie is a required component. My hubbie is more of a chocolate and licorice kind of guy, munching only the occasional handful of popcorn. Despite our disparity on choice of snack, we have managed to attend movies happily together on enough Tuesdays to fill a large bucket.

Regardless of the snack you choose, its enjoyment can provide the final step in immersing oneself in the movie. Munching M & M’s or gnawing on a bite of licorice can help manage the stress of a horror movie monster’s massacre; nibbling popcorn can aid in maintaining one’s heartbeat at a reasonable level during fast-paced action scenes. The smell of the treats, the movie soundtrack music that leads us in, the darkness that envelops us and the smoke and mirrors of a story on the screen all blend together to take you away from the regular world.

There are consequences to every action. Just like a good movie will also make you think, the snacks leave a lasting impression as well. Tonight on the way home from the theatre it occurred to me – I was busy fussing with popcorn kernels in my teeth and my hubbie was sucking on bits of licorice stuck in his teeth. (He had already licked his fingers of the melting chocolate as we walked to the car.) Was this a marketing ploy, I wondered? Perhaps the movie production companies are in cahoots with Nestlé or Cadbury’s to ensure we are sucked into a lasting experience. Does the popcorn machine company Cretors & Co. put something in with the kernels? After all they have had five generations of their family sustaining movie goers all over North America. (You can read my article on the history of popcorn if you’re keen to know more on this story.)

I suppose I’m just getting sentimental as I age. Much about movies and the movie-going experience has changed in my lifetime. “Extreme” theatres and reclining seats, movies about video game characters – all things that didn’t exist twenty years ago when hubbie and I started our movie date night.

Part of me likes that the popcorn kernels still stick in my teeth the same way they always have. I smile when I hear the outrageously loud sound of my hubbie opening his bag of licorice. Some things don’t need to change.

 

Winds of change

sunrise - this one was taken at Parksville

Okay, so the holiday season is officially over. The New Year has begun. There are no more excuses for lolly-gagging around; we should be moving along with things. Why can’t I get myself in gear? Why can’t I break the bonds holding me back?

I think I am having problems because Mother Nature can’t seem to decide what season it is, and as a result I can’t get clear on what it is I should be doing!! I thought I would be cooking stews and soups and maybe taking up knitting or at least finishing a good long book, but instead I feel like I need to be pulling out my seed trays already and tuning up my scooter. My morning walks with the dogs are slogs through the gumbo mud in the orchard, tripping over already-pruned branches… I am supposed to be doing that in March! Instead of clean dog toes through the door, I have 8 mucky feet to wash and wipe every morning. I feel like Madge with her Palmolive, only I am standing on my front porch in rubber boots and a sweatsuit. If I could come in and think of having my breakfast on the deck because it is warming up, then all that work would not be for nothing. Weeks of this when I am still thinking of hot porridge and scrambled egg sandwiches is crazy.

I used to live in Calgary, where they have warm winds that blow through the region in winter called “Chinooks”. They have proven that these winds also blow in confusion and sometimes depression for some people. I don’t know if I was one of those, but I do know my body expects to be exposed to the traditional four Canadian seasons, in the usual order. I like the foods and clothing and habits of each season in turn, not swirling together like some kind of tornado in my front yard! Perhaps that is why in Calgary the food scene has developed so eclectically and the fashions allow all kinds of variations. It’s a sort of Cowtown evolution that allows people to survive in environmental chaos.

Since I can’t change the weather, and I can’t make spring veggies materialize in my kitchen, I thought perhaps a dose of something from the freezer might at least keep the global warming demons at bay… so we will be enjoying some light-hearted trifle with angel food cake, Greek yogurt and pear and peach compote tonight, after a bit of chicken with Meyer lemon salsa (thankfully fresh cilantro is still available). Maybe I’ll even open a bottle of Rosé to close the deal.

What is winter food like where you live? Are you having wacky weather this year? I would love to hear comments and suggestions on how to overcome the whirling winds of change.

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