As Sunday evening’s blizzard dumped yet another half foot of frosty, sparkling, fluffy snow over everything in sight, did its majestic presence once again dazzle you?
It’s February. We’re not only past being tired of snow, but also those annoying, well-intended reminders that winter’s chilly snow curse is summer’s water necessity. Yes, we get it. But Mr. Weatherman, please quit reporting that even though highways, school districts, and entire towns are shut down, the current snowfall is still not enough. If you’re really that excited about this, come over to my house in that lovely white snow coat of yours and shovel all your “winter precipitation” off my driveway.
At a recent family gathering I asked, “Tell me something good about snow.” The adults’ eyes glazed over as they pondered. Meanwhile, the kids hollered out answers, quick and fast: sledding, building a snowman, snowboarding, skiing, snow angels, snow igloos, snowball fights and more. Clearly, they’re not the ones shoveling it.
Snow brings out the good in some people. I live by angels who like to see whose snow blower can toss the most snow. Starting on the sidewalks in front of their houses they go around the block. Within half an hour we could walk the block in slippers (if we’re that crazy).
It’s a fact that if I have warm gloves, a good coat, and didn’t stay up too late the night before, I actually like using our snow blower. That’s because we finally traded our ancient, huge, untamed snow-chomping monster for one I can handle. Before then, I never knew who was going to win—but it usually did. One day it tossed me into the brick side of our garage. I bowed to its supremacy, wrestled it back into the garage, and left the rest of the snowy driveway for my husband to clear when he got home from work. I whined to him about the monster. He went out and danced around with it as the two of them cheerfully, lovingly cleaned off the driveway, then did the sidewalk loop, too. I hated that thing. (Me, jealous of a machine? Preposterous.)
Anyway, when life hands you a snowstorm, you make something of it, like snow ice cream — a concoction of chilled condensed milk, sugar, and vanilla stirred into mounds of clean snow. One variation uses coconut milk mixed with a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup; another version adds apple puree. Stir the ingredients together, pour them over a surprisingly large amount of clean snow in a bowl, and start mixing and mashing. If you work fast enough, you eventually have a bowlful of really yummy snow ice cream. Spoon it into serving bowls and eat it instantly, before it turns into watered down milk. For best results, pour, mix and eat outside. Yes, there is an admitted level of craziness in making and eating snow ice cream outdoors on a cold, wintery day. But this is February and we are desperate.
Clean, newly fallen snow is actually the ideal base for several tasty winter treats. Try Maple Syrup Snow Drops. Heat maple syrup in a thick pan to about 235 degrees. Pour in thin strips over packed snow. For ease in eating, twirl the strips around a popsicle stick. It sounds crazy, but it’s yummy, and the kids like twirling it off the snow as much as eating it.
Another recipe is Honey Snowballs. Heat one cup of honey with a little vanilla, then pour in strips onto packed snow. Use popsicle sticks to roll the honey strips around in the snow until they form little balls. Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy. Seriously.
Some of these recipes come from a website called “Treehuggers”; the rest come from my recipe box, including a yummy Chocolate Snow Slush. Melt about 1/4 cup (3 ounces) of your favorite chocolate bar in a double boiler. Add 2 teaspoons of cocoa (yes, more chocolate!) and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Blend. Remove from heat, stir in half a cup of milk. Cool to room temperature, then add one more cup of milk. Stir until smooth, then quickly stir into about 3 cups of snow until slushy. Eat immediately, in large, appreciative bites.
So, if snow can become something delicious, it’s clearly not all bad. In fact, that chocolate recipe might just make the next snowstorm worth it. February’s redeemed when there’s a tasty silver lining in every snow-laden cloud.
D. Louise Brown lives in Layton. She writes a biweekly column for the Standard-Examiner.