Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dairy and fiber is good for you

Work and weather have been challenging and draining lately. It's February in Vermont after all, so of course this is unavoidable. Flower shows bloom all through New England this time of year, and resorts sell weekend getaways to desperate yankees by using words like "hot tub" and "relax". Anything that seems the antithesis of slush or rock salt or snow shovels becomes what we all crave.

The sky was a gorgeous blue today, and waking up to sunshine was a nice change. Before I got too hopeful, the flaky d.j. on the radio warned me of subzero windchill temps. Instead of throwing an all out "I want spring now" temper tantrum, I sighed and packed my bag for a day without a walk home for lunch.

What does one bring to work with them to create a fake lunchtime getaway (when one is used to a five minute walk and then the peace and quiet of her favorite chair, a book, and good leftovers)? The recent Saveur magazine, chock full of butter, and the mohair shawl I'm working on. I have always been a firm believer in butter from my first plate of starch. I was further convinced of it's charms when I called my mother after a failed pie crust attempt (my first) - she immediately guessed that I'd tried to substitute margarine. "Throw it away" she said "start again, use butter". I did, and I've not batted an eye at not-butter for baking ever since. I'm the daughter of a woman raised on a dairy farm, it can't be helped. The mohair was from my mother too, and it was high time I got it on and off some needles. While I'd be trapped in my office, I did look forward to the good company of creamy reading and floaty fiber in my fingers.

It was a horribly drudgish morning, so I took an early lunch. At the appointed hour, I moved my chair into the sunny patch in my office, put my back to the door and my feet on the desk. I slurped down butternut squash soup while reading about the de-vilification of butter and it's return to the table (hallelujah!), and sat with a pile of whispery and warm mohair in my lap. Something about the soft click of needles blocks out the sounds of jammed copiers and coworkers talking at each other. It was lovely. At home tonight, I remember my lunch hour more than the rest of my blurred day, which is more than I'd hoped for.

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