Remembering Snowstorms

12-10-09 Remembering Snowstorms

Boise Birdhouse
Boise Birdhouse

 

Some of you reading this blog live in snow country, and you dream of living in Hawaii. Those of us who do live in Hawaii remember what it was like to live in snow country!

I lived on Kodiak Island in Alaska, where I delivered my fourth child in the middle of a Williwaw. I lived in Rhode Island where one of our biggest snow storms one year came on Easter Sunday. And I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Illinois where the snow was mostly ice.

Then there was the December I spent in Canada, digging out from under the snow. Even in a place where people were more accustomed to it, the television announcer said people were encouraged to stay in their homes rather than try to go to work. It was one of the worst they’d seen in years.

Digging Out in Toronto
Digging Out in Toronto

 

I admit that I love seeing freshly fallen snow, however, especially when I see it on television.

Snow in Sarnia, Ontario
Snow in Sarnia, Ontario

 

So I’ll simply enjoy my daughter’s pictures from Idaho and be grateful I don’t have to shovel it off my driveway or walk through it to get to work. After being outside, I imagine her cold greenhouse will feel cozy.

Inga's Greenhouse
Inga’s Greenhouse

 

We do have snow here in Hawaii, and many families head up to Mauna Kea with sleds and garbage can lids to slide around on the snow there. It’s very strange to be driving along a warm beach front, then look up to see Mauna Kea covered with snow. This happens when we get our heavy winter rains at sea level.

After all of that, I’m very happy to be living in Hawaii, thank you! Remembering all this cold weather and snow is actually making me shiver. I think I need a cup of that hot wassail I wrote about in yesterday’s post.

A hui hou!

Hot Wassail Bowl

Winter in Boise
Winter in Boise

 

When the weather looks like this, a hot cup of wassail can really hit the spot! When I was growing up, we seemed to have a big pot of this simmering in the kitchen all the time.

There are actually two ways of using the word “wassail.” Many of us know the song “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” which meant that we were going caroling, or singing for friends and neighbors. For all the words, click here. The word “wassail” comes from an old English word meaning “be healthy,” or “here’s to your health.”

So when people were singing or caroling, they actually were giving a blessing of good health to those they visited. In turn, they would be offered a cup of hot wassail. Traditional wassail was probably mead or beer, or some sort of mulled wine.

My home was a tee-totalling Methodist preacher’s home, so no alcohol was involved. Over the years, as an adult, I would occasionally add a little rum, but it’s just as good without any added spike. Keep a pot of this going on your stove, and not only will it warm your tummy, but it will make the house smell wonderful and Christmasy!

* * * * *

HOT WASSAIL BOWL

2 large oranges
2 lemons
2 sticks cinnamon
2 T whole cloves
1 c. sugar
6 c. water
1 gallon apple cider

Squeeze and reserve juice of oranges and lemons.

Add orange and lemon skins to water with cinnamon, cloves and sugar.

Simmer in covered saucepan for 1 hour.

Strain and add to cider with reserved juice.

Reheat but do not boil. Serve hot. (Good with rum added).

I haven’t made mine yet this year, so I’m off to do that. Even living in warm Hawai`i without the snow, I’m sure one batch won’t be enough!

A hui hou!