ice_cream.gifToday it’s got down to 25F and “feels like 14F.” For those of us from the rest of the world, that’s -4C feeling like -10C. Cold enough in anyone’s unit of measure. And as recent weeks has had us New Yorkers plunging into the depths of arctic, we’ve tried out various coping strategies — some conventional and others contrary.

The most conservative of strategies is one I’ve been exercising with great frequency. It’s called not actually leaving your place of residence. Or maybe it’s called prenatal nesting under guise of “it’s too cold to go out there!” Whatever. It’s highly effective in terms of keeping comfortable, warm and also becoming painfully aware of the state of dust dinosaurs, which then one feels compelled to attack, resulting in a cleaner apartment. So a win-win strategy.

An alternate approach is to find a motivating reason to venture into the frigid outdoors, or to let the weather serve as creative inspiration. I hit double paydirt these recent weeks when the wintry weather energized my knitting bug. (I can only knit when it’s cold, unlike my dear friend K, who could probably look fabulously fashionable knitting poolside in LA where she lives!)

snood.gifSo I picked up a hank of textured, natural mohair Jay had bought me from Dombeya Yarns (check out the website!), a wool farm in the Western Cape in South Africa that my parents discovered half-way up a mountain in the midst of wine farming service roads. I didn’t know what I would make with it when we found it, only that it would be something warm for me. The result? A snood, a sort of hood and neck gator in one. Basically a spacious, funnel-shaped ‘pipe’ that I can pull over my head and wear around my neck or pull up and wear as a neck-cum-hat-in -one. It was partially inspired by our friend J, who had worn a larger funnel scarf-cum-shrug number to movies and dinner weeks previously.

And as for the contrary coping mechanism? Ahhh… that would be topping off your dim sum dash to Chinatown with a wonder down to Bayard Street to savour the ice cream delights from The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. We found their menu, picture in the top photo, amusing. Regular flavours are taro, green tea and black bean. “Exotic flavours” are chocolate, vanilla and strawberry etc. Interestingly, their newest flavour, wasabi (the mind boggles and perhaps the tastebuds do too) is listed under exotic… perhaps because it’s Japanese. (You can take a look at their flavour menu right here.

I had never been there, so it’s thanks to Jay that yesterday’s dim sum ‘craving’ (satisfied very tastefully and economically at Dim Sum Gogo on Chatham Square) was finished a few blocks away with black sesame ice cream. Yum! He had litchi and also almond cookie. Both terrific. I had wanted to try the durian, but they were sold out — I was curious about whether they’d managed to capture the flavour without the smell. But I guess we’ll have to answer that question on a future downtown run.

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