What is it about cold weather? For some reason my pleasure in life rises the lower the temperature. There's something about knowing the outside world is near freezing while you are inside next to the heater or with legs under your kotatsu (as mine are now). When I'm outside, I'm happy for the brisk air, but also I'm looking forward to getting home and having some hot soup and getting under the kotatsu.

Along with a general enjoyment of the winter months, I am excited about the opportunities cold weather provides for cooking: I like new things, and the tubers and squashes available now are fun to play around with. And mushrooms! Japan is the place to be for mushrooms. Frying and long stews are more acceptable during cold weather, too, when heat from your cooking food heats the house as well as the nimono (vegetables stewed until the stock is gone, sealing in the flavor) on the stove. This combination, as well as a decline in the interest in being outside that moves me in the summer months, makes winter months a great time to stay inside and cook.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the US, and today is Thanksgiving to Workers day (in other words, Labor Day) in Japan. I didn't have yesterday off, so I'm doing my Thanksgiving meal today. My plan is to really do it up, making vegan lentil loaf (like meatloaf), maybe some gravy, and the big finale, kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) pie. Unfortunately I didn't plan well enough to have folks to share it with this year, maybe next year; I'll just have leftovers for a while. In any case, I'll post my recipes and results at my food site, Tokyo Organic.