Yesterday was a lighthearted day in the world of food – it was Pi Day (3-14, as in the mathematical value giving the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. ) In my humble opinion it was a construct created by some bored mathematicians trying to justify a bit of dessert, but hey, whatever floats your boat. I suppose one could say we make up for it with today’s significance, in the infamy of the quote from ancient Roman times that forbode the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. A psychic had told the Emperor he would not live past March 15th, and sure enough he was killed on his way to a Senate meeting. His death triggered a civil war.
Now I don’t intend to rain on anyone’s parade today – it’s Hump Day too, and I try not to add to the stress of everyday life but rather lighten it. So, hang on till the end and you will be rewarded, I promise. I just thought you might find it interesting that the 15th of March is a day prone to unfortunate events, to say the least. (All the more reason for rejoicing when we make it through, right?)
Did you know that March 15 was the day in 1917 that the Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne, ending a royal dynasty in Russia that had lasted over 300 years? To make matters worse, he and his family did not get to live out their lives happily in exile; they were taken captive and executed a year later. The same day in 1939 is when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. Things certainly went downhill after that.
Weather phenomena of nasty proportions have taken their toll on the Ides of March as well. In 1889, a cyclone sank six warships off the coast of Samoa. Over 200 sailors died. In 1941, a blizzard blew through the American Midwest; at least 60 deaths were related to the storm. The world record for rainfall on a single day happened on March 15, and NASA announced the alarmingly fast decrease in the ozone layer in 1988.
With all of this historic data – and more – I deemed it necessary to invoke another ancient quote:
carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
You have likely heard the first part of this quote from the Roman poet, Horace. It usually translates as “Seize the day, trust not in tomorrow”. I agree that Horace’s intent was not to scare people into thinking about death, but rather to take action and make the most of one’s life.
With that in mind, I’ll remind you that it’s #WineWednesday (yes, that really is a thing). If you’re not a wine drinker, you can still toast your good health with your beverage of choice – craft beer, artisan cocktail, home-pressed juice, even a glass of Coke – or filtered water – will do the trick. It’s the action that counts. If you can, support a local business and try something fun. We are very fortunate in the Okanagan to have many wineries and breweries as well as distilleries with wonderful libations, and there are more in other parts of British Columbia. If you’re interested, here are a few references:
- licensed Okanagan wineries (this site has more information on the rest of BC as well)
- BC craft breweries map with links to individual websites & social media
- BC distilleries map with links to individual websites
And, in the interest of being a responsible drinker and also enjoying life to the fullest, I suggest you add some food to your celebrations. Cheese is lovely with wine, or beer. The folks at Bright Cellars have a wonderful website with a Cheese Quiz that might help you choose (and if you live in the U.S. you can join their cheese club!) Or perhaps some veggies and dip? if I do say so myself, my Hummus recipe is pretty darn good. Even if you’d rather skip ahead to dessert, make the most of it – Chocolate Soufflé fits the decadent side of life, but if you need something more practical, Chocolate Wacky Cake can be whipped up in a jiffy.
However your day is going (or went, depending on when you read this), it’s always worth taking a moment to breathe in and rejoice. I myself feel extra fortunate, since food and drink are most often shared. That gives me one more reason to celebrate; being around a table with others is sustenance on another level.
I have really had a hard time this winter. First the snow and cold were late in coming, then they came with a vengeance. Days on end went by with more than frigid temperatures and grey skies. And now, in just the last two days, we have gone from deep snow and cold winds to warm breezes and a swampy slushy mess. I was in snowshoes on Wednesday and today I had to wear gumboots, but the snow was still deep enough to slosh over top and soak my socks.
In case you haven’t guessed already, the current weather quite fouled my mood. Cold is hard for those of us who like to be warm, but one can dress for it. Grey skies are often seen as gloomy, but their pervasive nature can be overcome by more cheery activities. Where we live, there are no sidewalks but rather fields and orchards, so my daily walk with the dog is a more rustic endeavour. When we get to this time of year it becomes a swampy slushy morass, and then with a bit more melting it is a mud bog. It smells a bit of composting leaves and of course mud. Walking through it is frustrating at best, since it’s a case of two steps forward and one slippery step back. Imagine walking through a field halfway to one’s knees.
I guess the universe must have heard my cries of dismay. I received an article by email today that raised my spirits and even made me giggle. Here I was bemoaning the slush, and what should I get but instructions on how to cook with it – ingenious!
Thanks to the wonderful folks at Epicurious for saving the day, and my sense of humour. I hope you enjoy these ideas as much as I have.