Last weekend, Josh and I drove to visit his family in Connecticut. We headed down on Saturday morning, planning to celebrate his birthday with pizza and card games.

Except we hadn’t reckoned on a snowstorm.

It was October, all right? It doesn’t snow in October. Especially not when the trees are still full of red and gold leaves and Halloween hasn’t even happened yet.

The snow started to fall in thick, heavy flakes around lunchtime. By mid-afternoon we had a few inches on the ground, and tree branches began to bend under the weight of the accumulated snow. As it turns out, those beautiful red and gold leaves also serve as an excellent support system for wet, heavy snow. Then, around evening, the branches began to crack from the weight. We stood outside and listened to the branches fall in quiet, resonating thumps.

We lost power around 5:30 that evening. We stayed in and ate cereal for dinner instead of that promised pizza. We played Dominion for four hours by the fire while we moved flashlights and candles around for optimum lighting. It was actually kind of an adventure.

The next morning, we realized that it was maybe less of a good adventure than we’d assumed. The house had no heat, and branches had covered the driveway and the street. It looked like Josh and I weren’t going to make it back to Rhode Island that afternoon.

That’s when my hearth cooking instinct kicked in. I built a fire (and briefly smoked out the place when I forgot to open the damper), and we set about making the best of things. Around mid-morning, we toasted a passel of English muffins over the fire while Josh’s dad fried up peppery eggs on the grill.

Then I set a kettle of water on a bed of coals to heat (as both Josh’s mom and I were dying for a cup of coffee at that point). It wasn’t quite the nifty set-up we had at the living history museum, but it would do. Meanwhile, I got the coffee ready. As Josh’s family only had Keurig coffeemakers, we had to get a bit creative. I punctured a few of the K-cups with the machine, then peeled off the foil coverings and set the cups in a coffee filter.When the water was hot, I simply poured it through the small K-cups to brew a cup of coffee. It was kind of like an awkward double-filtering system, but it worked!

Things got better and better throughout the day. By mid-afternoon, the boys had cleared the driveway and the street was relatively open. Josh and I made it back to Rhode Island in time to prepare for school the next day. As of today, his family is still without power, and I’m hoping they’ll get it back soon.

But isn’t it good to know that pretending to live in the past and cook old-fashioned food is actually worthwhile?


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