Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blizzard, then Spring, then Duck

The blizzard on March 6th had neighbors and friends lamenting, “Where is spring?” The day had started out fifty degrees and raining. The snow slowly melted away. The mushy, springy earth was bald mud with patchy bits of green grass. The deers and turkeys were gorging. In a moment, it turned to snow and after fifteen minutes the blanket of white was back, then the temperature started to drop.

Every time I looked out the window another inch had accumulated. Shovel the driveway to go to the store. Shovel the driveway so the babysitter can park. Shovel so she can leave. The snow was steady, wet and heavy. It continued all night. And in the morning, finally the snow stopped falling. The sky was grey and serious, as if glowering, promising it could snow more if it wanted to.

And then spring peeked her head back around the corner: the sky cleared and filled the afternoon with thick black shadows over the eighteen inches of snow. And the light! The light was golden. Gone is the bright, white afternoon light of winter and the long slender shadows of a sun hanging low in the sky.

That is spring in March: a blizzard, and then, when the sky finally clears, a golden light. This too: walking to the back of the land, sinking in deep even with snow shoes on, the creek is a torrent. Between steep banks of snow, the creek has not frozen in the storm, in the night, but has stayed flowing, thawed from the warmth emerging from earth as we angle back toward the sun. The tumbling, churning snow melt, the exuberant gushing creek signal too, the rush of spring has arrived.

A Duck is always an excellent meal, and in this moment of cold, still needing fat, and yearning for warmth and craving more of spring's golden light, a roast duck and golden potatoes is a sumptuously satisfying meal. Craig followed a recipe from the brilliant ladies at Canal House, Canal House Cooking, Volume 2. I won't give away their recipe here, you should get the book, all the books actually. It is basically a good roast duck, good roasted, peeled potatoes, and the magical ingredient: anise seeds.

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