It is deep January. The sky is hard. The stalks are firmly rooted in ice- Wallace Stevens

I am glad to have reached the middle of January before the bleakness of the month hit me. I use the tired, cold, bleak, giving-up feelings as fuel for writing poetry. I think poetry has the ability, like many arts, to make you feel better about the very depressing thing you are writing about or depicting. I have found some great quotations in my search for the essence of the month. Here are a few more:

Winter dawn is the color of metal, the trees stiffen into place like burnt nerves.

Sylvia Plath

January is here, with eyes that keenly glow, a frost-mailed warrior striding a shadowy steed of snow. –Edgar Fawcett

Doesn’t that make you feel better? My favorite quotation about the month talks about a food cure.

Winter blues are cured every time with a potato gratin paired with a roast chicken.–Alexandra Guarnaschelli.

I did make a chicken breast recipe for the purpose of curing our winter blues- it was a chicken breast pane. Chicken breast pounded flat and breaded, then sauteed with mushrooms and topped with a brandy and cream sauce and flamed at the end. My husband and I appreciated the extra drama and enjoyed this old family favorite. Then Don came home with fifty jumbo oysters and we were happy again.

This is really a cheat because there is no recipe involved. You drain an oyster, dip it in egg and then bread crumbs and fry it in olive oil. Then your misgivings and wonderings about the meaning of life all dissolve and you are in heaven. At least that is how we experience fried jumbo oysters. Oysters so large you have to cut them in half with the fork to fit them into your mouth. And tender and salty and briny. Need I say more?

Don is always complaining that the modern oyster eater doesn’t really like oysters. They want to say they eat oysters for the sexiness of that label. But they want their oysters smothered in hot sauce or lemon juice or horseradish, anything so you don’t taste the oyster. And they want oysters that are tiny and fit 8 on a plate. No. These are not real oysters. Give me a 6-inch jumbo oyster any time, fried and devoured plain. My mother could eat a dozen or more if the opportunity presented, even though she was 94 and had a poor appetite for most foods. Oysters. That’s the secret of a happy life.

The Challenge This Year for This Seventyish Woman is to Share My Love of Cooking Beautiful Food That Is Also Good For Us
Not just seventyish people, but everybody

Ever since I began my quest to figure out the nature of healthy eating for me, I had the idea that the real challenge was to make the food good. Unless a dish is delicious and attractive and made out of real foods that have a lot to recommend them nutritionally, no one in their right mind — me — would eat them for the long haul. And I intended my new eating plan to be forever.

Published by Jean Anne Feldeisen

I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey to Mildred Shropshire and Theodore Felsberg Jr. I was raised in Galloway Township and graduated from Oakcrest High School in southern New Jersey in the Sigma 67 Class in 1967. I attended Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, and graduated from Stockton University in Galloway, NJ, in 1974 with degrees in Philosophy, English Literature, and (almost) music. After that, I taught piano to local children and adults in the 70s and 80s, had a catering business, "Jean's in the Kitchen," from 1980 to 1992, then went to graduate school at Rutgers Camden to obtain my Masters's Degree in Social Work. Since 1996 I have worked as a therapist and counselor, first in New Jersey for five years and then, when our family moved to Maine, in Augusta, Maine, for five years. For the past 17 years, I have had a private psychotherapy practice in Gardiner, Maine, During the pandemic, I packed up and moved my office home to Washington, Maine. On the year of my seventieth birthday, I decided to write and self-publish a memoir about our parents' World War II romance, Dear Milly. I began blogging on Medium in earnest in 2020 and have posted more than 265 stories, including a block of stories about my catering career which I hope to turn into a book in the next year. I have been writing and collecting poetry since childhood but never showed it to anyone. Recently, I learned how valuable it could be to join a group for feedback and support for my writing. I have taken several courses and written many poems, and recently had several poems accepted for publication. Off in a new direction, again.

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