Southern California weather is a fickle thing. It enjoys to play games on us. One where we lose and it wins. Winter was something that we didn’t even recognize this year. It was something that just didn’t occur for us. It came and went as fast as the holidays did. Any and all ideas of bundling up in warm clothing, sitting next to the fire drinking hot cocoa this “cold” season, was taken away from our minds, ripped out by the heat and blazing sun. The temperatures rose and dropped with each passing day. The heat is something we have all just grown accustomed to. Shorts were never fully put away, what was stashed deep in our closets, however, were our heavy jackets and coats. There is no place for those here in Los Angeles. As Southern Californians, we’ve now adjusted to the warm climate. Walking down the streets we hear fellow Angelenos say things like “There really was no winter this year” Or “Where did the cold go?” Temperatures of high 70’s and mid 80’s are something we are all too familiar with. They are welcomed here with open arms, for the most part. Another excuse to drop everything and have ourselves a beach day. Those are the bright sunny days we are known for.
And yet some people say we are spoiled. They make it known, that we don’t know what cold is. We’re often told, “Humidity, now that’s a problem. Call me when you deal with that in California” or “Snow. You don’t know what cold is until your stuck at home with ten feet of snow outside!” The truth of the matter is that, yes 90% of the time the weather here is what some might call beautiful and ideal, but that doesn’t take away from the days when 100° dry heat in the middle of February just doesn’t cut it. In turn, we’re left to yearn for those cold gloomy days. When overcast surprises us, and the clouds come over the mountains close together in dark gray patches, and we can’t help but feel a bit of excitement starting to tingle our bodies. We find ourselves making excuses to go outside and walk in the cold chilly air. Umbrellas aren’t something we want to carry. No. We want to enjoy the rain as much as possible. Heaven knows it only comes once a year. Might as well enjoy it while we can. We walk down the streets all bundled up with rain boots as if this were the coldest day we’ll ever get for the rest of our lives, and in a way it is.
The rain starts to fall. Slowly and steadily, tiny droplets of water dance all around us. The pavement begins to moisten and that glorious rainy day smell lifts throughout the air. It surprises us. It catches us off guard. It impairs our ability to drive or function. Yes, we do act as if we’ve never seen rain before, but in the end, we love it. We live for these days. We thrive in them. The rain is something we accept with happily. And although, we make a big deal about a tiny bit of water, what with news stories of “2012 Storm Watch” flashing every 15 minutes, we don’t want it to end. The rain gives us an excuse to do all the things we don’t normally do. Like make a big pot of soup to warm us up. A soup chock full of nutritional farmer’s market vegetables, this is California after all, with flavor profiles to knock your socks off. Vegetables, hearty pieces of grilled white meat chicken, tomatoes, simmering in a delicious chicken stock, topped with with crispy strips of tortillas, melted cheese and avocados all come together in a perfect heart warming dish. So when those rainy days are upon us, and come at us from out of nowhere without a single warning, I’ll be here ready, spoon in hand.