The Gleeful Gourmand: Snow Day Snack

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snow Day Snack

We had a wee bit of snow hit Richmond last Friday. Not enough to really build a snowman or go sledding, but enough to cancel school. This is the South after all, and here in Richmond frozen precipitation, even in the smallest amounts, makes us all freak out. We freak out in joy and get the hot chocolate on standby, or we freak out, freak out; which means we run to the store and stock up on bread and milk even though we have plenty of bread and we're lactose intolerant. We also go from being pretty good drivers to the worst drivers in the world.

I'm not trying to be cute. This is the way it's always been. Myself, I freak out in joy because I just love snow. I don't mind shoveling it, I don't mind driving in it, and gosh darn it, it's so pretty. It's also the world's best toy. I have so many wonderful memories from my childhood of my mom letting my brother and I loose with our sleds after a big snow. We lived on a golf course, and the hole before ours had a significantly steep hill that all the neighborhood kids would sled down. There really wasn't a better feeling than working hard at playing in the frozen stuff, fingers and toes going completely numb after an hour or two, making your way back home, and having a cup of hot chocolate or a warm bowl of soup.
Delia gets acquainted with the snow.

The kind of freedom and wonder I felt as a kid during a particularly big storm, standing on top of that hill at dusk as the world became bathed in a soft dark blue and the snow started falling again eludes me all too easily now as an adult, especially if we have a winter where we don't get a significant snow. I like to reclaim it when I can, especially at night when it's snowing. The particular brand of silence that envelopes you on nights like that when all you hear is the soft whispers of snowflakes is a silence this mama of three craves.

I wanted my kids to experience the same kind of joy, so as soon as they're old enough to toddle in it, we bundle them up and throw them outside. Even when there's not much snow to speak of and it's melting away. This year, we had, thanks to my mom, a great double sled for the girls that is best for just pulling them around. They had never been in snow before, so it was fun and thrilling to watch them experience it for the first time. There were a lot of tears as snow slid down into the cuffs on the coats, or they toppled over face planting in the white stuff and realized they couldn't get back up. But overall, for that hour and a half, our family had a lot of fun.
Using every inch of snow we could before it melted.

Whenever there's a snow day, it's also day for treats. Liam got his hot chocolate, but I wanted to do something different for Buck and I. I had recently seen Ina Garten make Popcorn with Truffle Butter as an appetizer, and I started salivating quicker than she could say, "Now how easy is that?" It just so happened that I also saw a tub of truffle butter in the speciality dairy case in Whole Foods one week later. It was meant to be, even at $10 a pop. Clearly a once-in-a-while treat.

But that afternoon as the snow melted away, and I melted the truffle butter down to drizzle over the freshly popped corn, I had my doubts. The smell was awful. Really awful. So awful that one whiff and my stomach lurched to the right and then to the left, and I thought I might heave. What in the world? I love truffles! I've eaten many dishes with truffles, and always enjoyed them, so what was the deal? Had they always smelled this bad? I had never cooked with them before and I worried that if they smelled that bad, it might not be great to eat it. I have a particularly strong sense of smell, so I also wondered if that was all it was: my nose working in overtime. But then Liam came in and proclaimed, "It smells so gross in this kitchen!"

No matter, I was determined to see it through. I dutifully added my Kosher salt and butter to the popcorn and tossed it all together. The pungent aroma subsided a bit, and I hesitantly took a bite. It wasn't great. My stomach flipped again, but I took another bite, this time closing off my nasal passages and just focusing on the taste. Heaven. Sheer heaven. Buck and I dove in, and bite after bite was better than the next. Salty, warm, rich, and earthy all at once with an awesome crunch from the popcorn. Even Liam dug in and had a few handfuls. It proved to me that something can smell awful, but taste divine. Could my long-standing hatred of salmon be reversed with this new-found knowledge?

Like the snow, it was gone too soon.

1 package plain popcorn (unsalted, no butter)
1 2-oz tub truffle butter, melted
Kosher salt to taste

Pop popcorn. Sprinkle with salt and melted butter. Hold nose. Eat. Enjoy.


Kirsten Oliphant said...

Being pregnant and susceptible to smells, I think I will wait to try this. Considering reading about the smell made me feel sick. I love you and your posts. :)

Jenna said...

Oh, I'm so happy my writing made you sick - we aim to please! ;) I love you too - thanks for re-posting!!

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