Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Culinary Monotony

Albuquerque is firmly entrenched in autumn now. Go outside, and it screams "AUTUMN!" at the top of its lungs.

Just a month ago, it was 90 degrees by this time of day. Today, it's hovering around 70 and very much thinking about whether it would like to dip into the 60's. When I get home from work, around 9:00 at night, it's in the 50's, with the temperature dropping lower and lower every day.

In conclusion, for this thin-skinned California-raised wuss, it's COLD!

Last month was about keeping cool- eating cucumbers, salads, iced beverages with actual ice cubes. This month is about soups, stews, a rice cooker that always has rice, and hot toddies. I switched to long-sleeves pajamas, wool socks, and even had to throw on an extra blanket.

Don't get me wrong, I love this weather. I like cardigans and jackets and scarves. I like closed-toed shoes (excuses not to get pedicures!) and fuzzy hats and gloves. But this cold weather here comes with an insane dryness. I thought the lack of humidity was bad before, but it is exponentially bad now. Granted, I have very sensitive skin, but I'm currently using night cream as my twice-a-day moisturizer because it's the only thing that prevents my face from chapping and then peeling (which has happened four times (!) in the past two weeks).

The thing that worries me is that Albuquerque has four seasons. We are not in the coldest season yet and I've already broken out all my outerwear. Is there anything more moisturizing than night cream? This does not bode well for me when, in a month, the temperatures drop below freezing at night. (My co-workers mock me every time I wear a scarf, because they all think it's not even cold yet. They're running about in flip-flops still.)

Plus, cold weather is much more evocative of Korean food to me. I miss the hearty, sweat-inducing winter warm-up Korean food that I grew up on. 김치찌개 and 설렁탕 most of all, but everyday soups, too, like 미역국 (my favorite!) and 된장 국 (one of my dad's favorites). A good soup with some hot rice and a few sheets of salted make the cold less biting.

Here in the land of green chile, there's good food to be had. Enchiladas, carne adovada, plenty of green and/or red chile ... but nothing that feels as substantial or as hot (temperature-wise) as Korean food. Honestly, I don't know if it's the tongue-scalding temperature or what, but Korean soups and stews feel like they pack a much bigger punch to wintry weather.

My parents are currently in Korea, and I miss them. They should be back tomorrow. Even though I cannot see their faces, just to hear their voices will feel good.

My sister is off on a business trip tomorrow- it seems appropriate. We're a globe-trotting family that now finds it hard to spend any amount of time together.

Work, of course, is busy. I have no time to think. So I'm pushing off my existential crisis until this movie's over.