It is still very nearly dark when I leave my office and drive the five short blocks home, towards a salmon sunset striated across the sky and the warmth of a house on the hill that in winter seems to be as much fortress as dwelling.
Once I am inside, I have no desire to go outside again. What I want is the warmth of a cozy snuggery with only one west-facing window and a soft sofa piled high with throws and pillows.
But first, there must be time spent in the winter kitchen, with its north facing window and cold floor. My old house is not tight, and my kitchen grows cold quickly once the sun goes down. I look for comfort food, for leftovers, for something soft and smooth but never cold. Winter is prime time for mushy, not crunchy foods, in my book.
I like nothing better than to have a dish like scalloped potatoes and ham to warm up at night, or perhaps a bowl of soup. Turning on a burner is in itself a welcome ritual when the kitchen is this chilly (we turn the heat down during the day and crank it up at 5 p.m.).
It is a pleasure to come home this time of year, and still more pleasurable when something soft and already prepared is waiting for you.
What are you eating tonight?