Snowy day baking traditions


On one of our bleak winter days last week when it was better to stay inside than to go out and risk a fall or a fender bender on the ice, I decided to mix up some cookies and bake them. I know I’m not the only one who has the urge to cook or bake (maybe both!) something good and hearty on such days when there’s time for it.

I remember my mom often did that on a snow day. Everything slowed down then, and — just like now — such a day offered the time to create in the kitchen in a way that the normal pace of life just didn’t. She especially liked to do delicious caramel pecan rolls that were baked in a cast iron pan, a rare treat. They smelled wonderful, and the oven helped to warm up the house. After my dad got the chores done in the morning (usually it took longer on those days because something had frozen up), he came in and spent time with us all.

Perhaps even snow days reflect the stages of life. As a child, those unexpected days out of school are fun. Then when one becomes an adult with a job outside of education, you still have to brave the weather and get out to your job. Bad winter weather is a dangerous inconvenience for getting to work and back, one that nevertheless usually offers up glorious stories about the harried commutes. As a parent with young children, poor winter weather means an early vigil at the radio or television waiting to see if school is cancelled.

And then by the time retirement rolls around, bad weather is pretty much a non-issue because retirees don’t have to get out. One at last has the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of a snow day from inside. Or opt to be a snowbird and avoid the entire issue.

This is the first winter I’ve not had to be concerned about getting to my job at a school when the weather gets bad. Too often I was already on my way — sometimes as the first vehicle to make tracks in the snow on the highway — when the call came through that school was cancelled, By the time I made it back into my garage safely, I was wide awake and felt like I’d put in a day’s work. Who could go back to bed then?

Now it is a true luxury to hear the snowplow on the highway on early snowy mornings and know I don’t have to care about it at all.