Lately I have been feeling trapped, confined within the white walls of my apartment, as the wind outside howls and the cold, winter weather lays an oppressive hand over the land. Spring has been lost, mysteriously misplaced, forgotten by Mother Nature. Instead, there are cloudy skies, a dirty snow-covered landscape, and a thermometer registering temperatures below freezing. There is a long standing joke that the Midwest has two seasons—winter and road construction—but this year it rings true. Winter arrived in October and is refusing to leave seven months later, like a bothersome friend overstaying his or her welcome.
All I wish is to trade in my heavy winter coat for a light jacket.
It is hard for me to appreciate the subtleties of life, to find the magic in everyday moments, when the weather has put such a damper on my normally cheery disposition. I find myself in sour moods for no reason at all, occasionally perked up by a loved song or silly comment, but the lack of sunny vitamin D eventually pulls it back down. This feeling is electric, affecting the people around me. They talk about spring with an infectious enthusiasm and discuss mowing lawns with an unusual fondness, staring out the windows at the winterscape with a heavy sigh.
No one, it seems, is immune from a case of the mid-April winter blues.
My boyfriend has recently become infatuated with Indian cuisine, tackling Indian dishes with a large frying pan and little success. After tossing another half-finished dish into the trash, he set his sights on something simpler—a Mango Lassi. He had enjoyed several at the local Indian restaurant over the last month and we set out to create one together. Our joint effort was a smashing success, evidenced by the fact that he made five more over the course of the next few days.
In some ways, the simple blend of a few ingredients brought a brightness into the kitchen and sparked a light into my weary soul. It was a hint of the magic I have been searching for, the beginning of a journey into the rebirth of a new season.
Mango Lassi is a refreshing, cold beverage originating from India. Lassi is a yogurt-based drink blended with a bit of spice and ice which melts quickly to cool it down. Mango pulp (pureed mango) sweetens and flavors the drink while a sprinkle of cardamom adds warmth. A lassi has been described as a lighter, healthier version of a milkshake (or a smoothie without the blended ice). This mango lassi is lovely when dreaming of hot afternoons and cool drinks in the sun.
Yields 2 servings
1 cup (230 grams) plain, non-fat yogurt
3/4 cup (170 grams) pureed mango
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (or less, depending on sweetness of the mango)
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
4-5 ice cubes
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
Divide evenly between two glasses, sprinkle a little cardamom for garnish, and serve immediately.