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'Tis the season

My husband wondered if my cast iron frying pan needed replacing. I disagreed, extolling the nuances of seasoned cast iron cookware. Even if it is 40 years old, heavy and doesn't look pretty, it's one of my favorite pans. And I make better food in a pan I love. I have a lighter weight blue carbon steel skillet which is also seasoned properly and which I use for other foods. Different pans; different purposes; all I need.

I cook and bake more at this time of year -- in this season. 'Tis the season, 'tis is not? This season, this holiday that we have made in all of our particular cultures, this is when we warm ourselves with fire, food, family and friendship. This is the season for coming indoors, looking inward, and, perhaps not so easily, facing the cold darkness of our humanity. It doesn't matter if you live on the equator, at a pole or anywhere in between; we all experience this astronomical maximum as a time for gathering. Gathering with our own. Gathering our thoughts. Gathering our responsibilities. Gathering our courage for more life tomorrow.

And what of tomorrow? What is your plan as the season wears on or winds down? Will you change the way you season your life? We all have our own tastes so what works for someone else may not be what works for you, in spite of loving advice you receive. And your favorite recipe -- the way you season things -- that you want to pass along to someone you love just may not be palatable to them.

This season rolls around every year so it's easy to think it's always the same old thing. It is not. Births, deaths, marriages, relationships, health, politics ... everything changes -- actual and metaphorical -- and anything can happen. The more seasoned you are, the more you mindfully choose your way, the less likely you are to be buffeted by the influences or expectations of others.

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