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First Snow

Foodie Author

Kathy Gunst

Kathy finds her true inspiration in the kitchens and gardens of Maine. This award-winning author and accomplished chef covers everything food. Cooking, gardening, foraging, writing, teaching and storytelling. If it's connected to food, Kathy does it. She even participates in the White House food initiative promoting healthier lifestyles.


I took the dog for her walk and it was a raw, dark morning. The kind of morning that lets you know that winter is right around the corner. She did her thing; ran after the ball, caught the ball, wagged her tail, waited for next ball. Suddenly, she stopped dead in her tracks and just looked up at the sky. I thought she was sniffing out a coyote or another dog, but she just sat there looking up. And then I saw it too. The first snow, a gentle rain of white dancing down onto the field.

Chloe, the dog, just sat there, watching the flakes fall, looking about as happy as a dog could look. Whereas my first thought was NO! I'm not ready for winter (I have this thought every year around this time). I need more sunshine. I need longer days. I need warmth. And then, as if on cue, the snow started to really fall. A thick white blanket came down on us. I just looked at Chloe and tried to absorb some of her serene acceptance of this turn of events. As we walked back up the hill I saw smoke curling out of our chimney. And in an instant I stopped fighting and remembered the beauty of winter. The stark landscape and the way the naked tree branches look like dancer's arms reaching out. The way home and family takes on new meaning.

Back home I set out to welcome winter in my own way. I got out my big blue stock pot, filled it with the turkey carcass leftover from Thanksgiving, a few onions, carrots, stalks of celery and peppercorns. I covered it with water and set it over a low flame. A few hours later the whole house smelled of something undeniably delicious. I strained the stock and put on a pot of rice. I added some egg yolks and lemon to the broth. Then I chopped up some of the turkey, and put in the cooked rice. Done, Greek-Style Turkey-Lemon Rice Soup. I felt almost as happy as Chloe.

Editor's Notes

This winter, try some of Kathy's favorite places to warm up in Southern Maine. Here are her top three:

Black Birch in Kittery. Even with a great spirits menu, the soups will warm you up as well. Kathy's favorite is the Lentil Soup that comes with crispy pancetta and curry.

Beach Pea Bakery in Kittery. While it is more famous for breads, cakes, cookies and pies, their soup is always fresh and made from locally-sourced ingredients.

Pepperland in South Berwick offers all kinds of thick warming soups. Kathy is fond of the Hearty Fall Vegetable Soup and any of their chowders. Everything here is made from scratch.

Maine has many great areas to explore with your dog. Here are some of the top dog-friendly trails in Maine.

Acadia National Park has many trails, and the rangers are equipped with dog treats.

Mackworth Island near Portland has an easy trail around the island and offers refreshing views of Casco Bay.

The Rachel Carlson National Wildlife Refuge offers many different landscapes to journey through like dunes, tidal estuaries, salt marshes, rocky coasts and beaches.