In Colorado, when it snows, you still have school. I remember my mother forcing me to put pants or snowpants under my dress because we had to walk 3 blocks to school and it was cold and snowy out there! People shoveled their sidewalks, of course, but we took quite a few "short cuts" through snow drifts. We had recess too. No one had ever heard of "indoor recess." I don't believe we had a single time when the weather was too inclement for us to go outside.
(This picture isn't us, but it sure could be!)
It was a different world. I loved waking up to see the world blanketed in white. I doubt if Mom loved it. We'd put on our school clothes, then bread sacks over our shoes to keep our shoes dry and so the boots would go on easier. Then a sweater, snow-pants and snow-boots. Then hat, scarf and mittens and finally, a coat. These manipulations required adult assistance. It's hard to put on boots and it's even harder to zip your coat with mittens on . Little kids never had gloves back then. I think you were a teenager before you had gloves. Nothing fit 100% either; my snow clothes were once my sisters and my brother wore my cast-offs. I'm not sure where my sister's came from!
When we got all of that on, we could barely walk. It was a stiff legged, robotic walk at first as my knees learned to bend under the snow pants and my ankles got used to the boots. We would venture out and I still can taste that first whiff of fresh clean snow air. I loved how quiet the world was, blanketed in snow. We were often quiet the first few minutes as we listened to the loud sound of our own breathing in our scarves.
If it was a school day, I'm sure Mom closed the door and collapsed with a cup of coffee. If she was unlucky and it was a weekend, she probably braced herself for our inevitable and too fast return. When we came home, she always made hot chocolate. This was before "mix" and packets so it was yummy. One of my favorite childhood smells is the smell of scalded milk! I make this for my kids on cold days still.
1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa, unsweetened
1/2 cup sugar
Stir all above together to break up the starch in the cocoa
Heat over medium high heat until the cocoa simmers
3.5 cups milk, slowly, 1 cup at a time until heated then add more.
Top with marshmallows, (lots).
You can also add a pinch of cayenne and a teaspoon of cinnamon; that's our current favorite way to enjoy it.
What's your favorite hot chocolate memory?