TND – It Could Always Be Worse

January 26, 2011

Never let it be said that the maxims learned from picture books don’t stick with you.  There’s a Russian Jewish folktale that I am reminded of every winter around about the end of January/mid-February when the weather is unendingly vile and my parents are sending me unsympathetic emails about how they’ve taken a picnic and sat outside in the sunshine reading a book in the forecourt of a 15th C country chapel.

It could always be worse.

It could always be worse.

I’m pretty sure the Russian Jews don’t have a monopoly on this sentiment, and it’s a useful thing to bear in mind when you (I) feel the need to make plaintive noises about the weather.

I could be living in Minnesota where it’s starts flirting with negative temperatures in October and doesn’t break up with them until much later in the year than I care to consider.

I could be Laura Ingalls and twisting straw into knots for fuel in an unheated lean-to in the middle of The Long Winter, eating groat loaf (I’m not sure I even want to google to find out what that is) and reciting bible verses for fun.

Yes, it was -2 (feels like -23) on Monday morning.  Yes, we are scheduled for yet another foot of snow over night.  But, it could always be worse.  I have central heating.  I have  Downtown Abbey on Masterpiece Theater.  And, I had beef cooked with onions and beer and beef broth into a succulent stew, served over fluffy boiled potatoes, with a side of crisp roasted broccoli and cauliflower for dinner last night.

Beef Carbonnade
Boiled Potatoes
Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower

Beef Carbonnade

Recipe previously given:  Birthday Stew

Boiled Potatoes

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower
I used to make this version with caraway seeds and garlic.  I’ve since simplified my life since then.

Mix of broccoli & cauliflower (when available I always get the pretty colored cauliflower for it’s aesthetic appeal) – use slightly more than you think people will eat because it shrinks as it roasts and people always go back for seconds.

Chop an egregious amount of garlic.

Toss broccoli with salt, pepper, chopped garlic, a drizzle of red wine (or balsamic) vinegar, and enough olive oil to coat the broccoli & cauliflower.

Roast in a 375-400* oven for 25-30 minutes, tossing halfway through to make sure both sides get crispy.



  1. I like the cauliflower better the new way. Just for a data point.

  2. […] Recipe previously given:  It Could Always Be Worse […]

  3. […] Recipe previously given: It Could Always Be Worse […]

  4. […] Recipe previously given: It Could Always Be Worse […]

  5. […] Recipe Previously Given:  It Could Always Be Worse […]

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