After another sub-zero day in Atlanta, I realize why I’m longing for this winter to be over. In an office, one doesn’t realize it’s another freezing day outside. I was cushioned from the day-in day-out cold. When we first moved to Atlanta, everyone said the winters were mild and the summers were very very hot. They lied! Winters are much colder than I thought they would be, compounded by the fact that everyone deludes themselves that southern winters are mild so our homes are not built for the cold. When we stand next to a window, we can feel the cold air blowing in. And although it does get humid in summer, I don’t find the summers unbearable. The first thing I do now when I wake up is check the weather forecast and often send a text to a family member in England letting them know it’s colder here than there. I’m fixated on the weather and I think it’s all part of the rich panoply of being retired – I have time to check several apps at once to make sure they all agree on the current temperature. Sad but true.
Happy New … Easter. New Year came and went and I haven’t updated my blog in a while, and it will likely be Easter before I update it again. This I blame on the fact that where I was retirement-busy before, now I’m really busy as I’m doing some work for my old team. I’m working remotely and it’s fun to be back in touch with everyone. I’ll work as much as they need me over the next few months – just a few hours a week. But the New Year was a good time to clean out my kitchen cupboards and toss anything that was old. I’m not too fanatic about sell-by dates, but some of my herbs and spices were embarrassingly old. Even though I cook and bake a lot, there’s a limit to how much lemon oil one can use. But when I looked at the best-before date, I balked. Do you know how much it hurt to toss the bottle that was still one-third full, even though the best-before date was 2005. Yep! Ouch!
I got rid of so much that I practically have to restock every jam, herb and spice. The containers are way too big, even if you buy the small ones. It takes forever to use dried herbs and spices, even cumin that I use daily. I will buy the tiniest sizes going forward. Except for Marmite. We can find only the small sizes here and I long for a giant jar. Marmite is a yeast spread and every English boy and girl is raised on Marmite sandwiches or Marmite on buttered toast. It’s the equivalent of peanut butter and jelly (which, I just cannot eat, sorry.) I’ve often made Marmite sandwiches for Americans to try … and have yet to find someone who will eat them. It’s very strong and salty and it must be spread very thinly. It’s NOT like Vegemite which the Australians eat. Vegemite is brown and grainy like eating dirty sand. No, no, Marmite is almost black, thick and glossy and when you touch it with a spoon or knife, a curl appears and stands upright inviting you to lick. The jars are wide and squat, made of black glass with bright yellow caps. You can find it quite easily in the International section of most groceries stores, along with pickled onions, baked beans and HP Sauce (more on those delights in another post). But beware. If you buy it, spread it very very thinly. It’s very strong and I can’t even lick the spoon or eat the residue on the side of the plate if I’ve taken too much. That’s how they make their money. I believe it was the founder of Coleman’s mustard who said he made his money not from the mustard people ate, but from the mustard they left on the plate. That’s Marmite for you. Must go – gotta make a Marmite sandwich.