Author: Reynolds, Suzanne

High Lonesome Aromas

The morning woke with a chill. No, not a chill… a complete brrrrr! Snuggled under quilts and blankets, there was no desire to start the day. But eventually, time or nature has to win out and I am out of bed and shivering in my long flannel gown. I know we have thermostats but I can remember waiting out the cold, blue and huddling around the woodstove, while a log fire is started, feeling the first waves of warmth as the fire took hold and sent a delicious warmth, first to the front of you, then to the back of you, as you circle round and round until the house itself became warm enough to freely move about.

I find I often cannot wait for that promised heat, so off to the kitchen it is. Baking is a great way to warm up. With my little cd player on the counter, I listen to an all-woman bluegrass band sing away while I peruse the recipe cards, thinking I might try a new pastry, until I finally decide to make the tried-and-true biscuits and gravy. I dance with measuring spoons and flour scoops as the fiddle plays away… there is no one else up yet to see my silly happiness with the tunes filling the cold room with warm melodies. Patting the dough, rolling it out, and cutting fat little rounds to dip in the melted butter in the pan, I can feel the heat emanating from the pre-warmed oven as I slide the pan of bread in to bake to a golden hue.

While the biscuits bake and the sausage sizzles, I check the weather report only to discover that this cold front is statewide and the day is not going to get much better. Seeing a free, lazing day ahead, I decide the kitchen and my boom-box are going to be my companions for the day. Throwing another log on the fire and a little Bill Monroe on the box, I start to peel apples for a massive apple crisp. Baking apples with a spiced and crunchy oatmeal topping is perfect for a cold and dreary day. I hum along with a few of the familiar tunes, remembering singing with my dad in days before, and soon after, the biscuits are out of the oven, dripping with melted butter and homemade jam, and the apple crisp slides in to take its place.

Now I have found my rhythm with the music and the baking and I check the refrigerator for the necessary ingredients of a shepherd’s pie. Technically it will be a cottage pie since I do not use lamb, and I pull the hamburger out of the freezer and check the veggie bin. Chopping celery and carrots goes faster with fast tunes… slow tunes find me stopping to sip my cuppa tea and nibble on the little baby carrots. Potatoes boil away on the stove, the crisp is starting the make the kitchen smell of all kinds of fragrant delight, and the deep beef gravy thickens in the pan.

High lonesome tunes wail away against the grey and cloudy skies as I grill croquet monsieurs to have for lunch since the heavenly kitchen aromas are making everyone very hungry. I check to see if there is a little butternut squash soup left from the day before to go with my cheesy grilled sandwich. My warm kitchen is a bright spot in the dark day, my feet finally warm up and I sense the satisfaction of creating a warm happy day out of the dark chill. Later that night, we will dine on comfort food, the fire will be kept going, and the last harmonies of the sweet music will call an end to a busy Sunday. The dark night will come, the temperatures will dip again, but we will go to our cozy warm beds, with full tummies, and the haunting tunes of mountains and rivers lulling us to sleep.

Posted:  1/15/2013

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