"So is it officially spring yet?"
"Maybe today, but it's 20 degrees tomorrow."
"I'm going to cry just fucking kill me"
— tales of seasonal affective disorder
New York people are infamous for their specific brand of Seinfeldian-normcore suffering, but they have nothing on Chicagoans — many of whom just do not deserve to be THIS upset given that they came here by choice. There's a reason people are so self-righteous after living here awhile, and it's not just because of the brutal winters. Most cities that aren't in California do their yearly battle with one bad season, so that doesn't particularly differentiate this place. It's that we are expected to survive the accompanying attrition that makes us the #2 'weather-related suicide' state in the nation.
And that is because our seasonal cycle looks roughly like this, devolving as months go by:
look at the lights on the trees! oh nevermind cold cold cold cold snow slush my car is unrecognizable my hands are frozen through the bone there is no happiness in the entire world cold
gray gray rain gray gray tornado watch gray 55 DEGREE DAY EVERYONE WEAR SHORTS oh wait gray snow again are you fucking serious gray gray
YAY PATIOS YAY GRILLING YAY BRUNCH AND MIMOSAS wait is it still getting hotter? hold on I've got rash lines and chafe marks from sticking to the bus seats I can't stop sweating it's always HOT WHILE I SLEEP everything is creepy and nauseating and my makeup is melting off my face like it's fucking Raiders of the Lost Arc
finally fresh air cool temperatures light jackets and I can open the windows!!!! actually hang on I think I smell snow
I am at winter's shitty dinner party that won't end. I am done with it even though it's not done with me, left chewing the fat at the table while winter takes hours to drink the last of the wine.
Every once in awhile amid the horror show, though, you get a sunny day to drive outside to the nicer grocery store, inspiration strikes, vegetables seem suddenly more palatable than cream sauce, gelato is almost appropriate, and a chilled meal is maybe all you need to imagine a 'healthy life' in this god forsaken shit heap of a region could be a worthwhile enterprise after all.
Effortful time: 7 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
- 2 packets (1 container) of Annie Chun's fresh refrigerated buckwheat soba noodles
- 3/4 bag of Trader Joe's Cruciferous Crunch greens (a shaved mix of brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, red cabbage, and green cabbage — you have been warned)
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- Bottled fresh ginger-honey vinaigrette dressing
- 1/4 tsp. Thai dry chili paste
- A handful of pine nuts
- Cracked pepper
- Sesame seeds
- Crispy onions
- Tiny bit of water
- Heat the oil in a shallow skillet. Toss in the noodle bricks and wait for a moment.
- Using tongs, start to separate the noodles gently out of their form. Add in the greens and continue to pull everything apart.
- Add the vinaigrette dressing, chili paste, the water, and sesame seeds. Continue tossing over high heat to get everything melded. Stir in the pine nuts.
- Let cool. You can eat this warm or cold. I ate one batch warm, one batch cold for breakfast.
- Garnish with crispy onions and more sesame seeds.
- Wonder if your body can actually forget how to process healthy foods in its time hibernating beneath tortellini and cream sauce.
- Remember that soba noodles are still pasta.