Well, tomorrow is Groundhog Day. A useless “holiday” if ever I saw one. In Punxsutawney, PA, grown men dress in top hats and long coats to commune with Phil. This overfed rodent telepathically communicates whether or not there will be more winter or if Spring will miraculously come on February 3rd. And everyone cheers. Guess what, folks, there are ALWAYS 6 more weeks of winter after February 2nd. The Spring Equinox isn’t until March 20 this year and right now we’re in our 48th snowstorm of the season. So what Phil says doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans.
There are other groundhogs that predict the remaining winter. I wonder if their “predictions” are predetermined, or more accurate. I wonder if there’s a groundhog handler conference in January in some secret Pennsylvania location. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. After all, if the groundhogs all started saying different things, they might run into some credibility issues… Not that THAT is possible… So Smith Lake Jake (sounds like beer), Staten Island Chuck (my personal favorite), General Beauregard Lee (too pompous), Schubenacadie Sam (huh?), and Wiarton Willie (not touching that one) all say the same thing on February 2nd and everyone’s happy.
Groundhog Day proponents say that the rodents are accurate 75% to 90% of the time. However, the National Climactic Data Center puts the accuracy at 39%, which sounds better to me.
So, in the spirit of Groundhog Day, I offer the following. Share a bowl with your family and know that Punxsutawney Phil finally did something right.
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 potato, peeled and cut into chunks
Vinegar and water
Salt and pepper
Clean woodchuck; remove glands; cut into serving pieces. Soak overnight in a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar with addition of one sliced onion and a little salt. Drain, wash, and wipe. Parboil 20 minutes, drain, and cover with fresh boiling water. Add one sliced onion, celery, carrot and potato, a few cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender; thicken gravy with flour.
– adapted from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Agency website. I can’t make this stuff up!