The colors of winter

Every year, just around mid-November I promise myself not to hibernate through the ever-darkening days of winter. December passes by in an intimate family circle of festivities and holiday decorations get packed away for another year in a slow-motion ritual.

Despite all efforts to the contrary, the quiet comforts of home define the month of January. Regrettably (or so it may seem), the cold season settles in for a begrudgingly accepted stay.

Cooking soups and making stews with sturdy greens and roots are the practical results of the dark days of this season. Reading books pass the time during long evenings indoors, but gathering my thoughts truly tell my story of winter.

With pen and paper in hand, at this time of year I slow down to write. Although most of my published writing is in fact a series of seasonal recipes,  my personal journals outline my reasons for being. Writing in quiet solitude makes sense to the puzzle of daily life in other words.

In the coming year I will be creating anew, first and foremost in my blog.  During the last months, I have actually been working on the introduction of three new forms of expression to expand upon my recipe writing.  Just like the notebooks stacked on my desk, each addition will be shaped into a chapter to form a broader creative diary.

Firstly, I will make place for visual inspiration and photos of my surroundings, not directly related to cooking a specific dish. This chapter will be a photo journal as it were.

Secondly, I will add a means for the unknowing reader to explore and utilize the recipes I publish, without having to read a diary of food memories first! This chapter will be much like a library.

Lastly, I will design a space for stories, simply because there are so many interesting people and places in the world. Sometimes a narrative will be historical or even factual in nature. Primarily, this chapter will document the noteworthy I happen to be lucky to discover. Imagine it as a thesaurus of significant things if you will.

My ambition is expansive. It’s going to take some time. In the meanwhile I will keep writing here, in the journal I started so many years ago.

On a weekly basis my journey about the essential and the ordinary in life and cooking can be tracked on my Instagram account.

A few notes of explanation

The original plan for my recipe writings was to post seasonal recipes, adding to each category on a weekly basis in alphabetical order, from top to bottom and back. My thoughts on filling the categories equally in intervals has evolved for a number of reasons.

First of all, the category of ‘My Mom’s Favorites’ is very important to me, and I want her entries to be completely accurate. This inspires lots of thinking and jotting down of notes. I am currently researching her hand-written recipe cards, arranging them chronologically. I have now decided to present my Mom’s favorites by putting them together in combinations of dishes which she liked to serve at dinners shared with family and friends. I hope not only to reflect her cooking style and generous personality, but also to weave the story of many memories, starting with our house in Caldogno. This category will be posted periodically as it is both beautiful and also very difficult for me to write about because I miss her so.

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The first post

I’ve written notebooks full of ideas and recipes all mixed together with thoughts concerning food and color combinations, plate arrangements, table settings, styling and food presentation. My notebooks form a history in themselves, tracing my work as a cook.

After procrastinating for a number of months, the perfect hazy Sunday morning has arrived to sit down at the kitchen table and write the introduction to my own kitchen diaries.

Cooking brings the senses alive. Substance, taste and smell come to the foreground. A chemistry of ingredients mingle as the kitchen becomes perfumed. All other activities fall into a backdrop as the elements of a meal come together.

This is my cooking journal. Ultimately it will form a book of notes on simple dishes and meals made from a cupboard of favorite ingredients.  My collection of recipes are primarily from the authentic Italian kitchen. Although not strictly vegetarian, I will highlight vegetables and herbs, and other beautiful elements to be found on the kitchen tables of my friends in Italy.

I prefer naturally grown produce as well as fresh and seasonal ingredients obtained from people who care about their products. My passion is for healthy food, free of artificial colors and preservatives. My quest is to document wonderful dishes that are as easy as pleasurable to make.

As my journal develops I will construct a library of special sources. My favorite place to buy food is at farmer’s markets, thus I will write about the special markets I know and my relationship to them.  In addition I will make a scrapbook of personal photographs.

Cooking inspires.  The content of this journal of recipe writings are inspired by mothers and daughters. First and foremost, I dedicate my work to my mother who taught me the love of cooking.

Saluti – Terri Salminen