Monday, February 9, 2015

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 197: Celebrate Midwinter’s Day on Feb. 6 with a steak dinner

My 'Midwinter's Day' feast.
A few months ago, I found myself thumbing through a great little book called “The Wish List” by Barbara Ann Kipfer. This book contains 422 pages of great “bucket list” ideas and an item on Page 172 struck a chord with me so much that I added it to my own “bucket list.” That particular item encouraged readers to “Celebrate Midwinter’s Day on February 6 with a steak dinner in a cozy inn,” which I shortened to “Celebrate Midwinter’s Day on Feb. 6 with a steak dinner.”

As things go, this past Friday was Feb. 6 and thanks to the help of my wife, I managed to scratch this item off my “bucket list.” She cooked the steaks, and we consumed them with gusto. But before getting into all that, here’s a little background.

Not to be confused with the Winter Solstice, which occurs each year around Christmas, Midwinter’s Day in the sense of this “bucket list” item is actually referring to the halfway point of the winter season. Winter 2014-2015 technically began on Dec. 21, 2014 and will end on March 20, 2015. If you do the math, you’ll see that the midway point of the winter season actually fell on Tues., Feb. 3. In other words, I didn’t check my calendar closely before putting this item on my “bucket list,” but who cares. What’s three days in the big scheme of things?

Further research into Midwinter celebrations also revealed that they are a huge deal for people working in Antarctica. According to The Antarctic Sun newspaper, the first polar Midwinter’s Day was celebrated in 1898 by the crew of the Belgica, who had to spend the winter stuck in the pack ice before it thawed in February 1899. The event is still celebrated today by the folks working in Antarctica as part of the U.S. Antarctic Program. It’s such a big deal nowadays that the President of the United States usually takes the time to phone the workers to congratulate them on having made it through half the harsh winter season.

With that said, fast-forward to Friday night, when I found myself at the meat counter at the Frisco City Supermarket. I picked out two, nice-sized rib eyes and was also instructed to procure a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese and two cans of English peas. I paid for it all (grand total, around $22) and headed home.

My wife, who is a superb cook, prepared the steaks, peas and macaroni and cheese, and I can safely say that it was the finest Midwinter’s Day celebration I’ve ever experienced. I washed it all down with two cans of Budweiser (the official beer of Major League Baseball) and did not leave the table unsatisfied. It was quite tasty.

In the end, how many of you have celebrated Midwinter’s Day with a steak dinner or some other type of special meal? What did you have? What other types of unusual holidays do you celebrate? Let us know in the comments section below.

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