The dark days are upon us. Not only is it the darkest week of the year with the shortest days and longest nights, but we are isolating in the midst of the pandemic. Usually this is a cheerful time of year with musical events, parties and window gazing. On a normal solstice night, we would be making a stone soup, lighting tables full of candles and concocting a festive drink to share with our neighbors. We would be going to studio sales, singing along to the tubas at Rockefeller Center, having friends over for meals and getting ready to travel to an annual family gathering. This year we can’t physically celebrate together so we have to find other ways.
Monday is the winter solstice, the beginning of the days getting longer. Even if we have to light the darkness and physically at a distance, we can include our people. We have technology on our side – phone calls, emails, texts, FaceTime and WhatsApp are just a few of the ways to connect and celebrate in a contagious world. But how to share a meal? Cook extra and drop off a care package to friends or family if they are nearby. Last week, for example, I made a big pot of spicy posole and packed up a few portions alongside some homemade focaccia for friends who live nearby. They gifted us some delicious turkey chili in return. My mother-in-law, while ordering dinner from a restaurant for herself, thoughtfully also arranged to have some dinner delivered to our son. My cousin in LA has socially distanced drinks weekly with her condo neighbors. Even across or in another country, you can send out a recipe, make it separately and eat together virtually. Bake your favorite fruitcake (yes, some are delicious) or cookies and ship them to someone you miss. Call and have coffee or a cocktail with a pal, colleague or relative. I’ve been having an early morning coffee with a friend in Bangkok while she has her first beer of the evening on a regular basis. It isn’t as satisfying as really being together, but it is better than nothing. And this year is all about good enough, right? Connection—written, aural or virtual—is a way to brighten the dark.
EASY WINTER DRINKS TO SHARE
(Just divide recipe by 3)
(For an alcohol free warm drink)