Farts, CPR and soup

I’m beginning to understand why everyone in the country is obsessed with the weather.

When you are living out in the open with no tall buildings or neighbouring houses to cocoon you, the full ferocity of winter weather can be humbling. It affects your comings and goings. Plans are altered, work is cancelled and school buses are parked. Just driving out your lane can be an act of bravery!

Yesterday, I attempted to do just that and became stuck, halfway up, in what I thought was a “little” snowdrift. The actor Jack Nicholson is infamously quoted as saying “Never trust a fart.” Good advice; I will add snowdrift to that.

Tonight, we are hunkering down for what Environment Canada is calling a “snowfall warning,” with 20-25 cm of snow expected to fall overnight. It’s cold, windy and already I have shovelled an obscene amount of snow from my walk way. The lane? Let’s just say I’m not going anywhere tonight. Or tomorrow. And possibly the next day.

We have snow banks on our roads that measure at least eight feet high. It’s like driving through a tunnel. Snow accumulation like this in Toronto just doesn’t happen. Or, maybe it did once (and we called in the army), and thank god because there’s nowhere to put it.

When it snows in the city we all march out with our snow shovels and carefully balance piles of it precariously at the end of our driveways (we’re not allowed to throw it on the road, although most people do anyway), careful not to encroach on our neighbour’s space. I used to think the piles resembled those Truffula trees from Dr. Seuss; I don’t miss that.

I’ve been struggling with these feelings of isolation. When I can’t see past my windows for the snow and I know my lane is blocked and all the roads and highways have been closed, the weight of having to care for my family alone makes me nervous. What if I need help? How could help come to me through all of that?

I have enrolled my eldest daughter and myself in a local CPR course. Not out of fear, I tell myself, but out of responsibility – and self-preservation. Maybe when my heart gives out trying to shovel all of this damn snow, she will be able to revive me!

It occurred to me there should be a “rent a husband” service when you need someone to help out around the house. Any volunteers?

On a night like tonight, there is only one thing to do: make soup.

If you’re interested in what I’m making tonight, check this out….

Potato leek soup


2-3 large leeks, finely chopped (white parts only)
9 large potatoes, quartered and thinly sliced
2 tbsps butter
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add chopped leeks and potatoes and cook over medium low heat, covered for 10-15 minutes. Add enough water to just cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mash lightly to break up some of the potatoes to thicken the soup. You can add more water (or broth) to thin the soup if necessary.

Tip: Cut all the potatoes the same size: This allows the potatoes to cook evenly.
Tip: Use leftover broth: I keep the water from my steamed veggies and freeze it. I use this as broth instead of plain water in the recipe.