December 6, 2019
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Bitter Cold? Torrential Rain? Through it All, Just Cook

Published Jan 31, 2019 • Last Updated 10:57 am, January 29, 2019

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What’s going on with this weather?

So far we’ve had bitter, bitter cold, but not much snow here on the shoreline. Of course, we have had rain and rain and more rain.

As for that recent cold snap...a wavy polar vortex? Something about a weak jet stream? Whatever, whatever. It was cold. I have a heat pump, a fairly new one, that provides heat in the cold weather and air conditioning in the hot weather. Friends have tried to explain to me how it works, but I still don’t understand it. I do know that it doesn’t work well when it is really cold, and that there is an electric backup. But mine stopped rising above 50 degrees when it got below 10 degrees outside. I knew it was trying to work, and it was hot as Hades upstairs, but downstairs I was so cold I was actually wearing socks. Finally, I called the company that put the heat pump in three years ago. Over the phone, a nice lady explained how to open the thermostat and put in new batteries. She is my new BFF.

Through it all, I cooked. I made an enormous pot of red sauce with ground beef, old-fashioned oatmeal for two breakfasts, and I baked a meatloaf. I also made split pea soup. With a hunk of ham, it would have been lovely, but it was terrific even without any meat. Here’s the recipe.

Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at

Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup

From Savory from Stop & Shop, January, 2019 (free from the market)


1 16-ounce package of green split peas

3 carrots

3 stalks of celery

2 cups diced ham (optional)

½ cup diced onions

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoon dried thyme

8 cups hot water

2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)


Rinse the peas. Peel and slice the carrots and chop the celery. In a slow cooker, combine peas, carrots, celery, ham (if using), onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and hot water.

Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours until peas are very soft.

Remove and discard bay leaves. Use a potato masher or fork to mash some of the peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, garnish with parsley (if you have it).

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