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Menu depends a lot on weather

Apr 13, 2017 By Betty Starks Case

But no recipe calls for a shower of powdered chocolate

Was it dark chocolate or light?

How would I know? I couldn't see through it.

It was a recent snowy spring day in Wyoming - a day for comfort food - our favorite: chili and hot chocolate. Like Brooks Lake Lodge used to feed us after we'd ridden seven miles on our snowmobiles.

Wyoming weather determines what you eat. Believe me.

Remember the time I made muffins with corn starch instead of baking powder?

It was a dark and stormy day.

Both products were made by the same company, so containers were similar in color. Product consistency was also similar - white and powder-like, and . . . . .

OK. So I was in a hurry. Company was coming. Muffins were easy to make and serve. But I didn't sense anything wrong until I took my muffins from the oven and realized those flat little dudes had refused to rise on cornstarch.

There's more than one way to make a mess. And somehow, the weather is usually involved. Or can be blamed.

This recent day, the box of powdered chocolate was on the highest shelf of my kitchen cabinets, all of which are far above my reach.

I do have a little kitchen stool to extend that reach. But wouldn't it be quicker to just grab a pair of tongs from the drawer in front of me?

I grabbed. I reached. The grabber grabbed, then let go.

Dropping from the high shelf, the box of finely powdered cocoa came crashing down and hit the counter. The impact blew the lid off the cocoa box and the entire content was airborne.

You can't imagine the distance that powdery brown stuff can travel.

Cocoa flew through the air, all over the cabinets, found every nook and cranny of the microwave oven before me, on to the cooking range and all its burners and controls, on to the fridge door beyond the range.

After the one huge POOF, the cocoa powder drifted down into my hair, covered my brows and lashes, spilled over my sweater, belt, pants, zipper, the whole front of me, to settle in my shoestrings, then splayed across my light-colored kitchen floor. I mean clear across it.

I felt a tickle in my throat. Was it laughter? Hysteria? Cocoa dust?

I've read that chocolate can positively affect your health. Like lower the risk of heart disease.

Somehow, I don't think external application was included in this study.

When I realized how far the fluffy stuff could drift, I think I uttered a dirty word.

Of course I did. One that's not even in my day-to-day vocabulary, although my mate's favorite acronym did cross my mind. (S.O.B. can cover a lot of territory.)

"Dark chocolate," I've read, "is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active."

Tell me about action.

"Dark chocolate may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure," the article continued.

This may be one of those tests where you become deeply and physically a part of the whole and don't expect specific results.

Lower blood pressure? I don't think so. Improve blood flow? Quite likely.

Eventually, I got the mess cleaned up. We reveled in our comfort food.

A couple of weeks later, I thought the outdoor activity had lost its threat and that spring had arrived. Perennials poked up from the ground everywhere.

Then last Sunday we emerged from our church peacefully carrying palm leaves, to find ourselves attacked by the wildest blizzard we'd ever been in. Crossing the church driveway through the storm proved a major hazard. Every vehicle was covered top to bottom with four inches of wet snow.

A few of us slipped and slid down into the drifts. Help came running from every direction. No serious injuries resulted.

Home was a blessed haven. I warmed the delicious chicken-broccoli casserole I'd made the day before and created a colorful cherry pie with whipped cream.

Once again, comfort food healed a storm's frightening threat. Ned was delighted, and my cooking disasters faded into the distance.

But do watch that Wyoming weather. It can have more bearing on what you get to eat - or not - than you might ever imagine.

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2017-10-22