As I write, it is an unseasonably cold, grey March day. I am beginning to wonder if I will ever see sun or be blissfully warm again. As I write, it’s snowing…again…outside my window. And yet, if I pay attention and stop whining about being cold, there is a freshness in the air that can only be identified as spring.
At this time of year, the entire world experiences a rebirth. From the blossoms pushing up through frozen soil to the sun gently kissing our pale winter skin, spring makes us feel alive. Our smiles seem to come more easily; our muscles relax as we stretch our limbs in the warming air; we sink our fingers into the dirt, preparing our garden patches or containers for planting. I am overwhelmed by life at this time of year.
I know spring is really on the way when I see my little seed trays, so lovingly started, in a sunny window and watch as the first buds of seedlings break through the soil. There is nothing quite like spring for me. Sure, I love the foods of winter…roasted veggies, hearty stews, thick grain and bean soups, all designed to keep us warm. And I love the fresh, crispness of summer fare. But in the spring, our eating lightens and brightens with a quality that is as unique as each tulip that lines your driveway.
Spring cooking is as delicate as the season itself, with tender shoots and sprouts taking the place of hard winter squash and sweet potatoes. Light steaming, sautéing, pressing and more fresh foods, take the place of baking, stewing and long braising. Our foods and our cooking begin to reflect the lightness and the romance of the season. The colors and textures demand our attention; the life bursts from every tiny leaf as we prepare our meals. From micro greens to baby carrots and tops, spring shows us true delicacy and sweetness and with just a wee bit of coaxing, these lovely foods give us all the energy we need to gear up for the activity of summer.
We live in challenging times; we work too hard; live over-scheduled lives. The world has become a scary and difficult place to navigate. There is much to do to make the world a better place for us, for our children and for their children. We need to work for peace…to prevent worsening climate change and reverse the damage done…to create neighborhoods where our families and friends are safe. We must demand better from the people who produce our food. We must demand better food in our schools so our children face a healthy future and can compete on the world stage.
And while we need to do it all…cook, clean, work, become pro-activists in life…this spring, take just a moment; step outside into the gentle, warm air, lift your face to the sun and allow the season to fill you with the energy of re-birth.
It’s National Nutrition Month; a time to reconsider what we do to make our lives healthier: how we eat, exercise and the footprint we make on the planet. Share your best ideas with me on Facebook (christinacooks), Twitter (christinacooks), Instragram (christinacooks) and Pinterest (Christina Pirello) and we’ll share them creating a groundswell of people getting healthier and healthier!
Enjoy the moment…and then, get back to work!