Johannesburg · recipe · Winter

Surviving the Treacherous South African Winter – Part 2

A typical miserable Johannesburg winter's morn

Yet again, it’s been too long in between posts.  This time I have an excuse – I managed to come down with a dreaded illness (a cold), probably because I didn’t wear enough layers and drink enough alcohol these past couple of weeks. So I’m finally getting around to Part 2 of this post, and ironically, today is Spring Day in South Africa.  Which I find odd because technically, spring doesn’t officially arrive until the vernal equinox, which is on September 22nd. Spring certainly seems to have made it’s way here, though.  Actually, it  seems pretty damn ridiculous writing this while I sit here in a t-shirt with the back door open, but I can’t write a Part 1  without following up on Part 2!

Eating Wisely

People usually associate that heading with healthy eating.  This is not one of those times. Winter is not a season for dieting. Most of us strive to eat healthier at some point in our lives, but for me, those aspirations go out the window when the temperature drops. Forget the fad diets and bring on the carbs and fat, my cold friends!

As much as I love a good salad, it’s the last thing I want on a cold day. Soups, roasts and casseroles are life-savers during the winter. This is a recipe for a delicious soup that I made often during the past season:Deborah Madison’s Cream of Tomato Soup. It’s easy to make and goes very well with some of the excellent rolls that you can get here in South Africa (see my post Food, Glorious Food – Part 1 ). Alternatively, you could throw a chicken in the oven to roast and you’ve got yourself the poor man’s heater – not only does the oven warm the house while the chicken cooks, but you can open up the door afterwards and bask in the warmth!

Thawing out the derriere....
Thawing out the derriere….

Or…… you could always head down to our new Krispy Kreme shop (yes, Americans – Krispy Kreme just made its way to this country) and sit there funneling coffee and stuffing doughnuts in your mouth. Whatever works best for you!

My good friend Tracey decided to take her fatty carbs to go.
My good friend Tracey decided to take her fatty carbs to go.


Furry Animals

Cuddle up to your fur-baby. The fuzzier the animal, the better. Rob heat from one another (this phrase is courtesy of my father, who always used to refer to himself as a “heat robber” when he was holding our pets in the winter). Pets are incredible – they can lower heart rates, lower stress levels, detect illnesses, and warm you up on a cold winter’s day! I always feel sorry for kids who grow up without pets; it’s a wonderful experience that I feel every child should have (plus – did you know that children who grow up with pets tend to have fewer problems with allergies?).  Unfortunately my dog is never interested in cuddling. Maybe I should get a lazy cat?

This little diva is only interested in keeping herself warm.
This little diva is only interested in keeping HERSELF warm.

Hand Sanitizer

Okay, I know most of you reading this are probably saying “Huh?” to yourselves.  Hear me out.  The only reason I’m including this is that it might be the only tip I’m offering that South Africans aren’t doing already.  I go to a lot of rugby games, and many of them are in the winter.  I’m sitting there in a cold seat, drinking cold wine….and suddenly I have to use the facilities.  Another idiosyncrasy of life here in South Africa is that whoever builds public restrooms apparently doesn’t believe in using hot water.  Hot water taps in public restrooms are a rarity. The last thing I want to do is stick my hands in freezing cold water after having my hands around a glass of cold wine.  This is where hand sanitizer comes in handy (pun intended). You can avoid frostbite if you make sure you have sanitizer in your purse or pocket during the winter. I always make a big show of using it so that people know that I’m not walking out with pee hands.

I think that’s all I can come up with for now.  By the time I’ve experienced my second winter here, I’m sure I’ll have more helpful hints to add to these. To my South African readers out there – what are some silly things that you’ve done to stay warm during the winter?







2 thoughts on “Surviving the Treacherous South African Winter – Part 2

  1. Ha! Hand sanitiser to replace the ice-cold water in public bathrooms — love it. I never would have thought of that.

    I’ve also always found it annoying that Sept. 1 is considered to the the “first day of Spring” in SA. It’s just wrong. But I don’t know if kids are even taught about equinoxes and solstices here. Every person I’ve ever brought it up with has looked at me as if I have two heads. I guess it’s because the actual seasons and temperature changes here just don’t match up with it.

    Liked by 1 person

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