Pure as the Driven Snow

| January 31, 2010

If you’ve been following, you know I live in the South. But I’m a New Englander, raised in a place where “snow day” means you better dress warm because you still have to wait for the schoolbus at the corner, only there’s about 2 feet of snow and sideways sleet hitting your face.

I miss it.

But guess what? We had a HUGE storm here! Actually, it wasn’t so bad where I live, but if you dared to step into the grocery store yesterday, you would have thought we were expecting 36 inches. It was a zoo.

I did my usual shopping yesterday night and when I walked out of the store, it was beautiful. It was snowing fluffy white snowflakes and the cars and sidewalks were already covered. I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Oh, wow!!” to myself. Then I heard an “oh, wow!” behind me – it was a little girl around four. She looked up into the sky with simple wonder. Her parents, on the other hand, said “oh, crap.”

Why do I find more in common with four year olds? When did adults get so…ornery? Do I have to start acting ornery too now that I just celebrated another birthday?

For my birthday, my dear friends L, P & C took me out to dinner to this lovely place called ACME in Carrboro, NC. Cake Mountain Man got stuck due the storm and couldn’t make it, so I had to eat twice as much for him (good excuse!). We feasted, we argued, we laughed.

ACME’s Pork Belly with Jack Daniels BBQ and Fried Clams

One of the reasons why I love cooking and sharing food is that good, delicious food is something that can turn even the most pessimistic, ornery adult into a child. I love watching adults, especially those who seem too busy or too snooty to give you the time of day melt into smiles when they try something delicious. There is little that gives me greater satisfaction than watching someone go “ummm-mmmm”, eyes rolled up in delight, lips turned upward at something I have cooked.

ACME’s Fried Green Tomatoes with Mozzarella

There is something about good food that reduces even the most hard-nosed, mean adult to one of the most basic, raw emotions of child-like happiness. I have seen many an adult who walk around like they have to get somewhere fast or that they are so important they don’t have time to do “fluffy” things (like admire snowflakes), stop and for a moment of pure bliss despite themselves, just enjoy the moment of savoring and tasting.

ACME’s Carolina Catfish with Black Eyed Peas

It’s like the character of Anton Ego in one of my favorite movies, Ratatouille. He’s a mean old SOB, until Remy makes him a dish that immediately brings him back to happier times – comfort food, after all, is comforting because of the good memories they bring forth – and from then on, he finds the child-like sense of wonder and joy that he had buried deep within as life added years and worries.

Source: Amazon

I still find it hard to believe that I am approaching an age I thought was an age for my mom or other “real adults” only, but not for someone who often has more in common with four-year olds. To celebrate this birthday of mine, L made this AMAZING coconut vanilla cream cake just for me! How awesome is he?

He did the cake in a water bath, and it was luscious and moist. He made it with love and we ate it in friendship. It was perfect. And it was the best birthday present I could possibly want.

Yes, it can be but one simple dish, one simple bite, that unmasks those “adult” layers of grumpiness and pessimism. Inside, we all still have that sense of innocence, wonderment and hope that yeah, life sometimes dumps a whole heck of snow that you have to shovel, but boy, you can still PLAY in that snow (I swear, we saw people sledding on the freeway. I kid you not. Welcome to NC. Sledding on freeways) and how cool is that?

And you get to eat birthday cakes that look like white fluffy snowballs, and the joy in eating them is just as pure.

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Category: Communities, Piedmont NC, Travel & Culture, US & Canada

About the Author (Author Profile)

With a flair for spontaneity, pizzazz, creative excellence and her own unique sense of aesthetic grace and perspective, we have our very dear friend, Belinda (or B, to some of us). Although an incredibly accomplished professional and career woman, B’s down-to-earth approach and demeanor transcends all scenarios, communities and people. She manifests, in her day-to-day, the essence of the word “Zomppa” as demonstrated by her extraordinary commitment to creating sustainable and positive change for us and future generations to come. She’s asked for a dog every year since she was five. Check out Belinda’s work on global education research and coaching: www.hummingbirdrcc.com or more about her portfolio www.belindachiu.com.

Comments (4)

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  1. Jeanne says:

    Happy Birthday! Sometimes I miss the snow, too. Wow, that cake looks truly amazing! There’s nothing better than a homemade birthday cake shared with friends.

  2. kristy says:

    Hey, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, Patty! May many more happy returns… Have a wonderful day! Btw, I have an award for you. Please feel free to stop by my blog to collect the button. Cheers.

  3. kristy says:

    Sorry! Is this Patty or Belinda?

  4. Kat says:

    Hey B, Happy B! Your little Bug all covered in snow is so cute! And I’m with the 4 year-olds also! Snow is the best :)))