Weekend Reading
February 4, 2024

Like most people, I complain about winter.

I bemoan the cold. I talk about how annoying it is to pile on and peel off layers of clothing. I say that I’m unmotivated to go outside.

This winter, however, I’ve had to ask myself whether all of this, or any of it, is true.

If I’m being honest, January has been sort of lovely in its deep wintriness.

On the most wet or cold nights, I’ve curled up at home, catching up on TV shows, reading and scrolling.

And you know, it’s sort of wonderful to stay in when it’s awful outside. There’s very little FOMO to be had when there’s driving rain pounding outside one’s window.

A lot of young people live in my building, so I’m accustomed to watching the hallways empty out on Friday and Saturday nights.

When the weather is bad, I find it sort of cozy and comforting to see neighboring doorways lined with boots and umbrellas. I know that we’re all warm and dry inside our apartment units.

Then there’s the fun of doing the opposite: using winter weather as a reason to get out and do things.

For someone who claims to be skittish about going out in the cold, I’ve had a lot of fun excursions in January.

In December, it’s hard to eat out anywhere without a reservation that was booked weeks in advance. January, on the other hand, is a time for walking into places on a Monday or Tuesday night and getting seated easily. I’ve had some nice solo restaurant meals, twirling pasta and reading a book at the bar or at a table that’s all for me.

Some museums in the city offer free admission on Fridays. These nights are uncomfortable crowded during the holidays, but in January, when more people are staying home, they’re just crowded enough to be fun, without being packed.

Many of us associate December with socializing that’s obligatory, even if it’s nice: holiday parties, work events, family commitments.

In January, we can catch up with the friends who were good enough friends to say “we can catch up in the new year” when we were feeling overwhelmed a month earlier.

Of course very cold weather can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. But I have to be honest: as seasons become progressively warmer, I’m coming to appreciate deep winter.

When it snowed for the first time this year—only for a day, and not heavily—I was so happy. I woke up and looked outside my window and felt childlike glee about the inch of snow that was accumulating, fleetingly.

A couple weeks ago, I was on my way home from seeing friends. It was one of the few very cold nights we’ve had this winter, and I was bundled up in my parka.

I could see my breath clearly on the short walk from the train stop to my apartment. The streets were empty, and the knocking of my boots on pavement echoed.

I paused for a moment to take in the solemnity of the buildings around me, with their dark windows, and the stillness of the street—so unusual for where I live.

There was something wonderfully reassuring about traversing the cold, quiet sidewalks in order to get from one warm, indoor place to another.

I suspect that this experience of cold winter nights will become increasingly more rare.

New York City happens to have just had eleven consecutive days of gray skies. I was happy to see the sun yesterday, as most people were.

But as a friend of mine put it, there’s been something sort of nice about feeling “cocooned” by the cloudy weather. Practically speaking, I’ve used it as a time to focus on clearing away some work projects. Metaphorically, it has been a time of turning inward and being reflective.

Come March, I’m sure I’ll be ready for spring. But the past month has reminded me that there really is a season for everything, in all the ways.

It’s good to embrace where we are in the year, just as it’s good to embrace where we are in life.

Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

1. Long story short, I found myself with a couple bags of pearl onions recently. I made a batch of these jammy, savory glazed pearl onions, and they were great.

2. Speaking of onions, this rye apple onion focaccia looks delicious.

3. I’m excited to make Nagi’s wild rice salad with my tofu feta in place of regular.

4. Nora’s stuffed mushrooms look like wonderful winter comfort food.

5. I had really yummy pistachio ice cream at a restaurant recently, and now I’d love to make it at home. I’m feeling inspired by Natalie’s recipe.

Reads

1. According to the New York Times, I’m not the only person who leaned into the quiet joys of January this year.

2. As an environmental allergy sufferer who’s done immunotherapy in the past, I was interested to read about allergy drops as a potential alternative to all of those tiring weekly appointments and needle pricks.

3. A very cool look at naturally occurring, plant-based jellies.

4. Having professionalized many of the things that I love, I’m coming to appreciate the value of hobbies more and more.

5. A recently published study offers a new hypothesis about why women are far more likely to develop autoimmune diseases than men.

Friends, I hope that you find something to love about winter in this first full week of February.

Till soon.

xo

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