I think I've finally admitted to myself that autumn has arrived. Normally, I can't wait for it--it's my favorite season, hands down. However, this year, after less than 4 weeks of actual summer weather, I felt as if it had come too soon.
Of course, I love autumn for many of the reasons we all do. Living in New England, there are, of course, the gorgeous colors of the trees which, I'm told, will be all the more beautiful this year due to the early spring rain having made for great foliage growth. I also love the crisp cool air. There's just something special to me about walking down the road or through a field with a light jacket on, listening to a few early-falling leaves crunch under my feet.
Of course, being the foodie that I am, it's the dinner table that I truly love about autumn. It's that time of year when our heartier foods come out of their summer hiding places and adorn the table in all their heartwarming bliss. Winter squashes such as butternut, acorn, and buttercup are cooked-up, mashed, sweetened, and piled, all hot and steamy into big serving dishes. Mashed potatoes and gravy adorn deliciously roasted cuts of meat, whole chickens, and turkeys. There are cranberries, apple sauce, apple pie, and rows and rows of homemade jams at the farm stands. I'm salivating just thinking of it.
When I was a child, I remember visiting my grandmother's house. In the backyard, she had a large weeping willow tree. While not colorful, it made an awesome sight when all of its thin leaves began to lose their color and cover the ground. Behind the tree, at the property line, was a large pile of vines. When you walked by them, you'd breathe in deeply, smelling a familiar, sweet smell. The vines were concord grapes, quickly sweetening and turning their rich purple color in preparation for winter. Just after the first frost, you could pick the delicious purple orbs and taste the sweet juice as the fruit burst in your mouth.
Of course, nothing says autumn like a trip to the orchard to choose a pumpkin out of the patch and pick apples. To me, there's nothing better than biting into a firm, crisp, tart apple like a Cortland. It's a texture and a taste you just can't get anytime else in the year. While apples keep extremely well, they do change texture as they're held. To truly experience one, you have to taste it right off the tree.
What does autumn mean to you and your family?