I am in Salt Lake City for the holidays. And it is cold.
Every year, I try to pack the right clothing for Salt Lake. Living in Florida (and not actually having grown up in a cold climate) means that I win some and lose some in this regard. That's part of what I love about coming home for the holidays, though: the complete change of scene. This is a vacation and every vacation, even visits to family, should have a tinge of the unfamiliar.
Winter is a foreign season to me in so many ways, even though I went to college in New England and have spent the last six or seven Christmases in Salt Lake. I still don't quite get winter.
As we were preparing to leave my parents' house for a Christmas Eve party, my mother stared at my python-printed, three-inch heels in disbelief and was silent for a moment as she considered what to say to me about my footwear. The little bushes that line the walkway in front of my parents' house stooped under a hood of snow. The streets had been ploughed and the sidewalks cleared, but inch-deep crevices of ice will stick to the concrete until next April.
For me, shoes are decorative items which I value for appearance, not utility. I've never had to think of them in any other way. When Mom proposed that I wear a pair of boots--the big, lace-up snowboot kind--I declined. I was able to wobble over the ice to the party and back while leaning on my husband's arm, but I questioned my judgment a little while executing a two-stepped scramble over the driveway's snow-ploughed edges.
Yesterday, we went east to Park City for an afternoon of gallery-browsing. The sun was out and as we drove up the canyon on I-80, I could see thousands of meandering foottrails on the slopes; deer, probably, or elk, picking their footing through the fresh snow. If I'm lucky, I'll see a moose before we leave. After all, I have the right gear now; I rented a pair of snow boots and snowshoes yesterday afternoon.
Cranberry Muffins with Pecan Crumb Topping
Adapted from this recipe at Food and Wine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 teaspoons of water