January chills us through. It’s an anemic, hot-house tomato of a month that’s mushy, squushy (new word!), flavorless. I kind of want to pick it up and sling it off the calendar like I would to a bad veggie on a fried oyster po’ boy sandwich.

Where’s the fun?
Where’s the heat?
Where’s the soul?

I feel like these 31 days need to be jazzed up and injected with a little citrus and pleasure and light. The only problem? Well, we spent all our money and ate all our calories October through December. Once the Halloween candy hit the grocery store shelves, we were all doomed to 2 ½ months of gluttony. As far as Jamie and I, the only fun and heat we’re getting mid-winter is from our stove-top burners and a bottle of sriracha.

Did January always feel like this?

Yesterday, I was talking with my girlfriend Katie, reminiscing about the Januaries when I was single. Then, I loved the month. Couldn’t get enough.  I remember flying back to the city, excited to sink my teeth into new opportunity and the New Year, certain that, within precisely three weeks, I’d meet Mr. Right and make a million bucks. Well, I did meet Mr. Right but that happened in July…

Am I excited or depressed by the New Year?

Is 2011 my mushy, hot-house tomato or a gorgeous heirloom that’s just waiting to become my succulent supper?

If you’re like I am, and in an emotional pickle this month, you’re in luck. We’ve got a recipe for all your January moods. Because what other time of year do you crave fish and citrus (so you can fit back into your skinny jeans), cheesey dips (for when you’re down in the dumps… oh, and for that thing called the Super Bowl) and stick-to-your-ribs stews?

January–I can’t make heads or tails of it. But I’m hoping for a juicy gem.

Photo by Colleen Duffley