“Kansas — the land looks so simple, flat and white, like a canvas on which nothing has ever been painted.”— Lawrence Gonzales
This is my Kansas in winter. Simple. Flat and white. Chilly days of longing for anything warm-toasty-snuggly-cuddly.
Gray days filled with the magic of ordinary things. Favorite television programs.
I now exercise my brain with “Jeopardy.” Hallmark Channel to make my heart warm or shed a few tears. And a dose of the news for the day.
These are the days I search for pleasure in the sameness of habits. Always starting my day with my morning reverie of reading a devotional book, a poem, the two morning newspapers, hoping for inspiration. I end the day filling the coffee pot just as my father did every night after his ritual of laughter with Johnny Carson and a late lunch with Mom. Before I turn out the lights, I make sure the kitchen is clean and I scribble a card or two at the kitchen table. I cannot complete my day without writing to someone.
The nights may be frigid but I am always warm in my new home. There may be depressing days that stretch before me but I fill them up with snatches of sorting and filing — photos, recipes, column ideas, quotations — and I rearrange drawers.
On winter days, I have to declare to myself that I am a pioneer and not a settler, so I make sure I have an errand or two, which gets me out and into the fresh air.
I also find pleasure in cooking. I now have a new kitchen and so I am slowly bonding with all the new modern appliances. Cooking for two as I always used to do. This means a meal for the day and one for the freezer. I stick to comfort food: macaroni and cheese, ham and bean soup, chili, or maybe just scrambled eggs and toast.
Pleasure comes to me when I crawl into bed and snuggle under the covers. The Villas, where I now live, are so quiet at night. The security cars drive by regularly, the only sign of life I can see. I fall asleep hoping to dream of days gone by.
I love my Kansas winters best of all when the sun is shining and the roads are clear. These are the days that are filled with the magic of ordinary things here on the prairie.
Cauliflower macaroni and cheese
1 small head cauliflower cut into florets, 1 pound macaroni, 2 tbsp. butter, 1/4 cup flour, 1 and 1/2 cups milk, 1 cup chicken broth, 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, dash of pepper. Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it, add the cauliflower, and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to big bowl. In same water, cook macaroni until al dente, drain and add pasta to cauliflower. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, then whisk in milk and broth and cook until thickened, about five minutes. Stir in cheese with pepper. Stir cheese sauce into macaroni and cauliflower.