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a fresh start on my own time

I pulled out A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen last week in an attempt to switch my brain over from nine-bean soup mode. We aren’t vegetarians, but we have meat only one or two times a week. It’s not the kind of book that’ll make you salivate, but it does strike just the right mood I want to be in when I make the grocery list. Springtime food has flavor all on its own without layers of heavy sauces or long cooking. Springtime food crunches. Everything else feels lighter now—the sky itself, and in a few weeks, coats and clothes will, too. 

Yesterday a pair of chatty young men brought the new fridge. The old one came with the house; it rattled and barked and ran almost constantly all summer, to say nothing of its inability to manage humidity. If you aren’t a food person, that may mean nothing to you, but keeping produce viable for more than a few hours after you get it home has a lot to do with moisture. The old fridge was a cantankerous swamp-box that could turn greens into sludge at twenty paces. The new one is all crisp breeze.

Once I put the condiments into the door I realized how much usable space there really was in this thing. I rearranged things a bit for the photo to spread them out! The fruit and vegetable bins are packed, though, and that half-bottle of vinho verde is in full view so that I won’t forget to finish it (heh!) before it loses its oomph. With only the two of us, I didn’t really expect to fill it up, but the clear expanses of glass make me even more determined to put only good things in here. Soon there’ll be a huge bottle of dark maple syrup—good for salmon-brushing and oatmeal-sweetening—because it’s sugaring time. Carefully wrapped (humidity!) herbs and handfuls of early carrots and asparagus. A little colander of green and purple grapes. A messy tangle of garlic scapes.

I never make New Year’s resolutions because (a) I have a bad memory and (b) January first doesn’t feel like a fresh start to me. Christmas is still hanging around and winter is no way to start a year. The Southern Hemisphere has that part right. But with the lengthening days and the receding snow and the squish of the ground beneath my shoes, it finally feels to me like 2011 is at the starting block. This is the time when I’m ready to declare intentions like walking to the store and only taking the bus on the way home, turning off the computer earlier in the evenings to spend more time with my beloved books and my beloved, and keeping these shelves stocked with the good stuff.