October 19th, 2011
There’s just something to be said about this time of year. It’s quiet, reflective, gathering, closing in, nesting, souping, preparing, gray skying, fire placing. So many elements I love.
The light is soft, the ground is fallow, the corn is high.
I don’t know. That just sounded good. Never mind that fallow ground would not make high corn.
Oh words! You taunt me with your polar oppositedness that should go together because the cadence is right.
So here’s the random thing. Some ways to make Autumn (I like that word better than Fall. And I also like capitalizing my seasons) more enjoyable:
Read The Shadow of the Wind.
It sounds Autumnal, doesn’t it? And it’s brooding and moody and mysterious and epic. Listen to this, one of the book’s first lines:
“It was the early summer of 1945, and we walked through the streets of a Barcelona trapped beneath ashen skies as dawn poured over Rambla de Santa Monica in a wreath of liquid copper.”
Good God. How could you NOT read that under a blanket beside the dying embers of a fire where a soup pot rocks over the coals?
(You DO cook soup in a fire right? And live in England? Circa 1463? Good. That’s very Middle Ages Fall-y.) Which brings me to…
Right now, I have chicken noodle soup bubbling on the stove (my fireplace is brass, not stone, and gas, not fire). I made it quite like I do many things: made-up and hoping for the best. Which is to say I shredded left-over rotisserie chicken, threw in some carrots and onions sauteed in butter, five packets of Trader Joe’s Veggie Broth, 10 cups of water and egg noodles, and salt and pepper. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t suck yet. Other soups to make? Lentil, potato, minestrone, and my personal favorite: Navy Bean. Here’s a simple recipe that doesn’t take me forever, one of my prerequisites for cooking:
1 (16 ounce) package dried navy beans
7 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup margarine
4 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound bacon
Wash the beans. Place them in a large bowl with water to cover and soak for three hours (I KNOW.)
In a large pot over medium heat, combine the beans and the chicken stock and allow to simmer.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until onion is caramelized. Add this mixture to the pot.
In the same skillet over medium high heat, saute the bacon for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is crisp. Drain the grease and add the bacon to the pot. Continue to simmer the soup over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the beans are tender and the soup has thickened. And while you’re waiting for the beans to soak (I KNOW)…
Late in the early evening about two weeks ago, our doorbell rang and The Rock went to answer only to find no one standing on the stoop. There was however, a pot of something on the threshold and my husband stuck his hand into it to retrieve something mushy. After we all recovered from thinking someone left flaming poo on our doorstep, we were thrilled to discover the mush was a delightful cauldron of Halloween cupcakes and assorted foodstuffs. We’d been booed! And none of us knew what the hell that meant! But good news! There was a note in the mushy cauldron that explained it all. You simply collect assorted Halloweeny goodies, put them in something with a note and anonymously place the whole thing somewhere on your neighbor’s property. And then your neighbor boos someone else and so on and so on and it’s like a chain reaction of Autumnal spookiness!
So the other night, Toots and Booger and I booed two of our neighbors with cupcakes that were supposed to look like this:
But ended up more like this:
(The above is thanks to my cooking approach as referenced above: Make it up and hope for the best)
But we had a heck of a good time ding dong ditching the neighbors and running away like maniacs. (Booing Fun Fact: Don’t wear flip flops.) Speaking of flops, next you should…
I did this last year and boy oh boy was a good time had by all. Because nothing says delicious turkey dinner like someone who makes recipes up and bakes dirt cupcakes without meaning to.
But I’m sure you’ll be fine! And need I say? Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is Autumnal to the max. (Did someone say death and destruction? Which leads me to…)
Romp in High Corn
This Autumnal tip is optional, because I’m sure you’ll do great, but every time I take the kids in that pumpkin patch corn maze? We get lost for six hours while my children screech and I wander aimlessly down the same rows, vowing to get a corn maze GPS for next year and hoping the chainsaw guy doesn’t hack off our skin for a suit made of my family’s collective flesh.
Autumn is FUN!
Enjoy my tips.