You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.
hemmingway, a movable feast
Just last week, I saw a glimpse of autumn through the bus window on one of those rare San Francisco streets showy with hues of orange and yellow. For a moment it felt like seasons were upon us, but the next street came idling by in its verdant splendor like plastic evergreens, the ones that came in even shades of green, straight out of a box. Fall. I think it’s mostly a time for hoarding and eating pumpkins ’cause ’round here, we’re boasting sunny afternoons and flowering trees. Though, I do recall, with clarity, those crisp fall mornings with backdrops of Appalachian Hills – their warm shades of yellow to orange to red, a natural accompaniment to my then equally colorful wardrobe. Now, I just walk around trying to blend in with the tree trunks rather than leaves. Heather grays, leathery browns, and oh so many blacks. I’m just trying to hide from those chromatic decisions that makes dressing difficult in the early hours of morning. Laziness is a comfort of sorts. There’s a satisfaction in those comfortable choices that I indulge in now that my days are lengthened by work and snooze – oh god do I snooze. I lust for my bed and my blanket and my quiet Friday evenings with a cookbook or ten.
Then, there are weekends and weeknights when I get to cook among friends, which are the best. I relish my hours in the kitchen, and I am looking forward to this weekend because I get to do more of that. Also, there will be pumpkins. Lots of it. Some people call them autumnal squash or some similarly orange titles. The butternuts, the hubbards, the red kuris… and even a little bit of the pumpkin pie variety which I dislike because they feel a bit anorexic on the fleshy side. Give me the butternuts because they are meaty and I can cut a slab of it from the neck and shave ribbons for my salad (photo above). I like to blanch them slightly – just enough to break down their sprightliness – then I toss them with lemon and salt and oil. Of course, they look delicate when arrange in curls but they have a crunchy bite with a delicate pumpkin flavor that’s not at all like pumpkin pie. I’m serving it this Sunday at the 2nd Suppers with Snoopy event with Nik and Alanna. I’m sharing the menu below because it’s crazy-fun, and I think you will like to read it if not eat it too.
Savory pumpkin bread, ginger-pumpkin butter, and pickled pumpkins!
Shaved Pumpkin Salad
with pumpkin seed pesto, watercress, pumpkin seed & candied cranberries
filled with whipped pumpkin puree
Pumpkin & Smoked Tea Soup
with hazelnut crumbles and fresh ricotta
with sherried chanterelles, chives
with cranberry orange sauce and pumpkin seed granola
Pumpkin Fudge Bites & Pumpkin Chai Latte
If you live in San Francisco, you can rsvp and purchase tickets @Feastly. I’m currently working on a really fun recipe for next week which involves pumpkins and sous vide and coffee and croissant! I can’t wait to share… see you soon.