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Winter Doldrums

I hate the cold! I don’t ski or snowboard. I don’t ice skate or ice fish. My hands and toes grow numb when exposed to temperatures below 40°. I do like snow sometimes, but only when I can view it from the loveseat in our sun room, with a mug of hot tea between my hands. So, you might ask, why on earth did we choose to live in Northeast Pennsylvania?

A recent immigrant from Manchester, England, in the early ‘80s, Brian first wanted to move to California. It must be every Mancunian’s dream to live in LA! (According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2010, there were approximately 200,000 Brits living there– including Brian’s brother Neil.) After I nixed that destination, we briefly toyed with the idea of moving to St. Ives in Cornwall (where we had honeymooned) and opening a small shop that we would call Art Cards, Etc. (Brian even bought me a Lucite key ring with our store’s name embossed on it!), modeled after a quaint store on Eighth Street in the West Village that sold thousands of postcards and artists’ prints. In retrospect, I would have liked raising our kids with English accents, but instead, we made the decision to play it safe and settle in… Secaucus, New Jersey [sigh].

I have nothing against New Jersey (except NJ drivers), but having grown up in urban communities, we both relished the thought of escaping the hustle and bustle of city life. With funds from the sale of Brian’s modest terrace house in England, we purchased a weekend retreat (a.k.a. “handyman special”) in Narrowsburg, New York, which, for a while, became our full-time residence, and eventually led us across the Delaware River to Beach Lake.

Living in a small village of 600 people can be challenging. Since there are not many restaurants in the area, we tend to eat in a great deal of the time. This time of year especially calls for hearty meals like lasagna. And what better accompaniment than garlic bread? I make this recipe, from Cook’s Illustrated, with our French baguette. It’s one of my favorites.

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