literary food blog, for readers with good taste.

Weather Or Not

Weather Or Not

As a Chicagoan, I've been thinking a lot about the cold this week. I've also been thinking about what I do to avoid the cold. Some heat-seeking activities are productive (cooking, reading in bed) while others are less worthwhile (avoiding the gym because our building's hallways are cold, wearing two pairs of socks instead of warmer boots). The trouble with cold weather, I've found, is that it makes me tend toward antisocialism. Much as I love friends and human interaction, the thought of trudging through the whipping wind makes the prospect of even the most delicious meal less appetizing. What I'm slowly realizing/deciding/acknowledging, though, is that no good thing comes easily and that a little effort can pay dividends.

Take, for example, the lunch date I had Wednesday with a friend I hadn't seen since high school. I bundled, stumbled, and bussed my way over to the Slurping Turtle for some excellent udon and tempura, not to mention a hilariously awkward conversation in which my friend and I cautiously probed each other about how many friendships from high school actually lasted (spoiler: not many).

Less adventurous but no less satisfying was my trip to an around-the-corner cafe called Local Root, where I met a classmate from undergrad for coffee. She and I got to know each other over some excellent poured-over Intelligentsia coffee, and I started to feel like I'm finding places in my neighborhood where I can go over and over. For someone making a home in a new place, that goes a long way.

So I had a fun week. Will this stop me from complaining about the cold? Of course not – I live in Chicago and it's January. That's like expecting me to not complain about being stabbed by a million tiny ice-knives every time I leave my house. Still, things are looking up on the getting settled front.


- I agree with just about every word of this Amateur Gourmet post: "In Praise of Chopped." What's your favorite cooking show?

- An essay about developing a fear of flying, which speaks to my newfound anxiety about hurtling through the air in a metal bird that is (I believe) well masked by my efforts to be brave.

- BookDwarf's post on how she went to culinary school but doesn't want to be a chef. #omg

- "Chick Lit Could Be Making You Feel Extra Crappy About Yourself." Great.


Two words: karahi chicken. A karahi is a South Asian cooking pot, wok-like in shape, with two handles on the sides and a heavy bottom. Not that I have one – I use a wok, which does a good job of gathering the oil, spices and tomato to successfully stew the chicken. The recipe for this dish is not very scientific, but I did my best to put one together for you to follow.

Another attempt to warm myself from the inside: tea. My favorite right now is Tazo Apricot Vanilla Creme.

Question for the comments: What's your favorite thing to eat or drink when it's cold out?

Read, eat and be merry, Amina

PS: Like these pictures? Find even more by following@paper_plates_ on Instagram.

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