By this point in 2019, I don’t need to preach to you about the misery of winter in Chicago. Even though this isn’t my first frigid rodeo, something about this winter feels more painful than the past three. It could be those record low temperatures that killed my Prius faster than you can say “electric car.” It could be the wind that seems like it’s learned how to cut through layers of winter clothing faster than last year. It could be that I’m getting older and more fragile. I guess. But really, I think this winter is just really, really, painfully cold, and we need to be a little more creative this year about how to survive in our winter wonderland.
Lucky for you, I’ve made a list of the best ways to winterize your soul starting in the kitchen. Take a look at the ideas below, and then tell us your secrets for warming up!
1. Put on your wine parka
Everyone’s heard of the classic beer jacket that’s protected many a frat bro from a chilly night out on the town. I present to you the grown-up, classier version: the wine parka. Science has proven that adding a little bit (a LITTLE bit) of alcohol to your body will protect you from the cold outside. Even though this method might not work on the coldest of cold days according to science, I still think you should do yourself a favor and try. Head to one of The Chopping Block’s happy hours, wine tasting classes, or just stop by for a bottle to do some science and warm yourself up.
2. Get that oven going
Your body is already craving baked goods. You could do some damage to a loaf of sourdough bread. I know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. And best of all, I’m giving you the perfect excuse to lean in to your cravings by telling you that turning on the oven is a sure way to warm up your home and your belly. During that cold snap back at the end of January, I was in my kitchen the entire time I was locked away and hiding from the cold. Why, you ask? Easy: cookies. Warm, fresh-from-the-oven cookies.
3. Make a huge vat of your favorite soup
I don’t care if it’s chicken soup, vegetarian soup, soup to cure a cold, a ramen that you whip up after The Chopping Block's Ramen Workshop, or just some bone broth for your #newyearnewme diet, soup is the only way to go during these cold months. Putting a big pot of something delicious to cook is as much ritual as re-watching The Office for the eight (thousandth) time. Get that stove fired up and get a soup going. Try this lentil coconut one first, okay? You’ll thank me for as long as the leftovers last you.
4. Think spring thoughts
Stay with me here. Power of positive thinking, anyone? The Chopping Block is offering spring cooking classes as early as the first week in March to get a jump start on thinking about a nicer time of year when the farmers’ markets are fruitful and the eating is fresh. Join one of these classes to get the learning over with early so you can spend time outside when it doesn’t hurt your face!
5. Give up and book a vacation
Throw in the towel, admit Mother Nature wins it this time, and head somewhere the sun is shining, the fruits and veggies are local and ripe, and snow seems like a quaint Christmas decoration. And just in case work won’t let you go on a fully-fledged trip, The Chopping Block’s got you covered with some culinary destination cooking classes like Spring Break: A Trip to Mexico and Spring Break: A Trip to the Islands. Phew.