Thursday, May 23, 2024

Michelle’s Kitchen Table Strategies - Cold Feet


Staying with Grandma and Grandpa in the Upper Valley, we get snow. Sonny and I woke up to another seven inches. It was cold and quiet. In the stillness everything came to a halt for me; I don’t want to be anxious; I’ve done my best to prepare for winter; but I’m not at Hubby’s side. I’m not sure if I’m missing a rudder or a steering wheel. Either way it takes a conscious effort to turn and face the dragons in my imagination that aren’t as imaginary as I’d like.

Seven inches of snow and I’m anxious. My snow shovel isn’t that big! At my late Hubby’s side, we were prepared for winter. Snow brought a peaceful time when we could slow down. I wasn’t anxious because his shovel WAS big enough. Now it’s me, Sonny, and the Grandparents who are pushing up against frailness. At least I have warm winter boots.

In my pre-teens I remember one October hunt in the Rocky Mountains when Grandpa showed me how Grandma wrapped his feet in burlap bags and stuck them in boots (one size fits all) she called galoshes. They were black rubber with a flap for the tongue and if the soles weren’t worn out, they were waterproof. That day the pair Grandpa held in his hand were thin on sole. In the Colorado cold, I wiggled my toes warm in woolly packs inside Sorrel boots he’d bought me.

“Burlap isn’t very warm.” I said. “It’s what we had,” he answered. I saw by the way he held that worn black rubber boot how valuable those galoshes were to the kid he was back-when. He glanced at my foot-ware, grinned at me and I saw the pride in his eyes for being able to provide. That winter I discovered wool.

Sorrel boots with removable wool liners became my standard for winter foot ware. But now Sorrels are made in China; the removable Chinese liners (packs) aren’t wool; they don’t keep feet warm. I found a wool sweater; removed the long sleeves; knitted the cuffs together; created a make-shift pair of packs and my feet stay warm. With seven inches of new snow on the ground I’m thankful for my sweater-sleeve Sorrels.

Sonny got busy moving snow. Four hours into snow blowing he came inside to warm his feet. His rubber ankle boots provided little protection from the snow and cold. I offered him my Sorrel boots complete with wool sweater sleeve liners. Sonny said, “No thanks.” I’d argued with him before; I wasn’t going to argue about it again; I left the boots on the floor.

Marching out of the living room I overheard Grandma say, “Why don’t you wear them? It’s cold on the feet out there. Don’t be so proud. What do you think? Grandpa’s going to look at those boots and start laughing?” Next thing I knew Sonny was heading out the door wearing my Sorrels. Grandmas just have more pull than moms.

The following day Sonny bought himself a pair of winter boots. My anxiousness is decreasing. Maybe it’s because Sonny is making good decisions. Maybe it’s because grandmas have more pull than moms. Or maybe it’s because on these cold days I’ve been eating whole grains that have precursors for serotonin, the feel-good chemical for the brain.

Whole Grain Breakfast Cereal

1 cup whole grain (wheat berries, oat groats, pearl barley)

3 cups water

In a saucepan simmer whole grain and water until the grain is your type of tender. The grain will get softer the longer it is cooked. When it is done, serve for breakfast with a dab of butter or a splash of milk (grain+milk=complete protein). Put the extra in the fridge for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Note: In these crazy days, like everyone else, I can use a boost from the serotonin precursors found in whole grains. Once cooked, the grain can be reheated simply by putting a few tablespoons of grain in a mug and running hot tap water into the cup to fill it. I like to sip warm water as I munch on the whole grain. This is an easy ‘make my own breakfast’ for kids of all ages when the grain is cooked the night before. The cold cooked grain can be treated just like boxed cold cereal when the water is drained off, it is poured into a bowl, milk is poured over it and it is served with a spoon.

About the author:

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She taught cooking classes at various churches in her community on “ How to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients”. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies, stories and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or Michelle’s email: if you have any questions or comments. #4 January 2023.



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