January 30th, 2020
There are two major events vying for our attention this weekend. One involves a football and highly caloric eats, the other has us fixated on a groundhog with the power to determine the longevity of winter. I am only mildly interested in the latter.
The football portion of the weekend will go unnoticed in my little world; my disinterest in the game stems from more than enough rough-and-tumble touch football as a youngster. It was all fun and games until someone got hurt and with two older bothers, it always ended the same way. I will acknowledge however, the Super Bowl was a fine excuse for my mother to fill her shopping cart with fixings for Pigs-in-Blankets, a few bottles of popular and neon soft drinks, and a large red and yellow bag of Fritos corn chips. Even then it wasn’t about the game, it was about what was happening in the kitchen.
As for Punxsutawney Phil, he and I go way back to the days when jovial weatherman Willard Scott bounded across the television screen, interrupting my soggy breakfast cereal reverie. Willard captured the groundhog excitement, providing a play-by-play from Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania. The brouhaha generally reached its exciting conclusion just as I was racing down the driveway, attempting to catch the school bus. The unknowing was torturous; would Phil see his shadow and if so, was that a good thing? Was Phil a sunny-side-of-the-street groundhog and did the sun even shine in Gobbler’s Knob? I never could remember and quite honestly, regardless of what Phil saw or didn’t see, winter trudged along undeterred. (It seems counter-intuitive for a shadow sighting to trigger six more weeks of winter, but those are the facts.)
This weekend, Punxsutawney Phil will be represented in a sugar cookie likeness at the bakery, right alongside Super Bowl-appropriate sweets. I am less inclined to dabble in groundhog/football brown icings, more likely to focus my attention on seeding and slicing Meyer lemons. Regardless of whether the groundhog sees his shadow and retreats to a comfy den with his weighted blanket, or embraces a spring-like forecast, we remain in the thick of citrus season. This provides plenty of incentive for my sport of choice; a solitary pursuit requiring select kitchen equipment, no particular uniform, and boasting zero commercials. The half-time show is low-tech; simply rotating the baking sheet 180 degrees in the oven. The post-game show begins when I deem the baked good cool enough to slice and enjoy. Go, Pie, Go.
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