A month into 2018, my husband and I decided we needed a do-over. For the past months, there’s been a darkness that fell over Antwerp that lulled all its residents into a slow, silent depression. You think you’re okay – that you’re immune to the cold, the darkness, the lack of sun or perhaps you embrace the gloom by curling up with a cup of tea or a glass of wine on the sofa, but then. . . it gets bad. “It’s the first winter that can really get to you,” I remember telling my friends in Texas last spring.
The best part about wintertime is the food – just how the world around us has drawn hearthside, slowed down, and warms up with blankets and fuzzy socks – my favorite foods slowly cook in the oven for hours and warms my family’s insides with each bite. (My favorite recipes also make enough to freeze the leftovers, which is handy for those really lazy winter days when I just can’t be bothered to do more than defrost.) My kids lovingly titled this one White Wine Coq au Vinny, after their Dad. In Belgian and Holland, most grocery stores sell pre-sliced
I’m shivering in the shower, covered in shaving cream, and screaming to my six-year-old. “Holden! Holden! Where is Daddy?!? This is an emergency!!” Tears press at the back of my eyes. There’s worse things. There are. My hair is full of conditioner. The space heater in the corner of the bathroom is on full blast, but it can’t do anything to warm the ice-cold water spewing from the spout. I’ve turned it off five times in hopes that it reheated, only to be blasted with more melted snow. I try to calm myself. It’s not working. “Mama, he’s outside getting