There are some of you who love winter, and I suppose I would also if I ran a ski resort or a snow removal service. This would make me yearn for a constant deluge of snow so I could cash in at the bank. But I think I am in the majority when I say I don’t really thrive in the winter.

But winter is a season, inevitable as it may be, and there is no way around it besides moving to the Bahamas and waiting it out. But since I have a year round business to run, that isn’t a viable option at this point in my life. I must adopt a different strategy.

When the doctor gave us the news of Karen’ s cancer, he gave us some advice that I have heeded on a daily basis. He said yes, you have cancer, and yes, it is very serious and can be life threatening, but he also added that it is treatable disease and that we could take one of two paths from this point forward. Of course we both wanted to know the statistics; what are the chances of beating this thing? In his wise bedside manner, he told us that we can ask and find some answers to any of these kinds of questions, but his recommendation would be to focus on everything positive and let the unknown run its course. The doctor continued by adding how thankful we can be that we caught this disease in its early stages, and most of the time he sees this type of cancer at an advanced stage IV.

If focusing on the positive seems like sticking your head in the sand, it doesn’t mean you have to ignore the harsh daily realities of your current circumstances in order to feel good. It only means that you choose not to let the negative be the ruling party.

As winter approaches, one positive to which I look forward is the shift in our style of cooking. Yes, the seasonal choices will diminish and our growers will no longer arrive heavy laden with tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash, but like our ancestors who settled these plains, we still have an abundance of beef, pork, chicken, lamb, buffalo, rabbit, quail and even veal. I just recently purchase an entire suckled veal, which is a young calf that has been humanely raised in open spaces and fed its mother’s milk. So you can expect to see Veal Parmesan and Weiner schnitzel any time soon. Last Saturday evening I served a veal sausage similar to Nurnberger. I ate this dish after my shift, and it sealed my commitment to keep learning the craft of sausage-making. Expect to see more forcemeat applications such as Merguez, Sweet Italian, and Boudin Blanc appear on the menu this winter.

We refer to it as comfort food for a reason, because it leaves us with warmth and satisfaction like no other source can. Is there any better combination on a snowy day that a hot, hearty bowl of soup and some fresh crusty baked bread? Such simplicity should be rated as genius, but something feels wrong about designating four stars to something so elementary.

I love the aromas of the fall kitchen; the cinnamon spice wafting through the air from the apple pies and the pumpkin bread baking in the oven, or the earthy sage and piney rosemary in the butternut squash releasing its subtle fragrance announcing to all who will hear that it is time to slow down and settle in for the slumbering months of winter. Even the overlooked combination of carrots, onions and celery simmering in the stock pot will let you know that taking the extra time to cook it slow and draw out more flavor will lead to a reward at the table for which the customer will be glad to dole out in words like, amazing or wonderful.

Yes, winter, even in Nebraska, can have its positives.

We’ve had such a nice Spring and Summer at bread&cup. It’s so enjoyable to see a full restaurant with people doing what we created the place to do, bringing the conversation while we set their table with the best we have to offer. It won’t be long until our patio will close up for the season, cutting our seating in half. And instead of seeing it as a loss, I prefer to use it a reminder that we get to adjust with the season, and bring you new, satisfying, savory dishes that will be a bright, warm, and cozy refuge for you and your friends while Old Man Winter stays for his visit.

Helping you get through winter

3 thoughts on “Helping you get through winter

  • September 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm
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    meat in tube-form? yes please.

  • September 13, 2010 at 4:47 pm
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    Okay, you had me at "suckled veal", only bread&cup could make me long for a cold, snowy Nebraska day!

  • September 14, 2010 at 2:25 am
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    What an exceptionally well-written post. I immediately wanted to slip on a sweater, make myself a cup of tea, and get to work on an apple pie. Unfortunately, it was 85 degrees today, so winter warmness will have to wait for another day. I look forward to a piping hot meal at Bread & Cup once the temperature starts to dip, though.

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