I love the fall.
I mean, I really really really love the fall. With the leaves, and the smoky smells; the cowl necks and chunky boots; the awesome rich and deep flavors of the season. With the growing time just ending, there are long shadows of summer sweetness on the plate – tomatoes are still full and juicy, and the chillier second (or third or fourth) harvest of leafy greens is underway. The bitterness of chard, the leathery kales, and the delicate lettuces are reaching for the sun one last time before the first frost settles in.
Nothing compares, however, to the roundness and earthy delights of the winter squashes. Lending their sweet flavor to soups, risottos, casseroles … roasted, boiled, mashed … these ugly beauties are the queens of the seasonal food parade. Robust colors of green, pales notes of yellow, and loud oranges fill the crates at the market.
The color orange always reminds me of pencils and during this, the time of year when the students return, pencils are at their most plentiful. In a thin pencil, there is hope … hope that going to class can open the world for an inquisitive mind.
The same is true for food. Having a curious palate is a passport to adventure. And our city certainly does not lack when it comes to answering the call. Our plates are without borders – one night, they could be stacked with schnitzel, the next night, curry. This is a treasure that many of us take for granted – this bounty of choice. Growing up, the most international food we ate was pizza and … wait for it … fondue.
It can be kinda scary and intimidating to travel via tastes. Ingredients are new, spices and herbs seem familiar, but somehow not, and language can be a barrier. Yet, we are a friendly city, whether you’re Midwestern born or Western African born. People are proud of their food traditions and happily share them with others who visit with open hearts and hungry bellies.
Traipsing through the land of food and drink with an eye out for happy accidents of learning turns the world into something new everyday. And I really really love that.
In this issue of Stock & Barrel: