Summer's over and the days where lunch is just a matter of few sliced tomatoes and a lug of olive oil or placing a bowl of fresh peaches and a knife on the table for dessert are gone. We've entered into the season of roasts and braises and long-simmered pots of beans. The vegetables we crave (squash and potatoes and turnips) need plenty of time in the oven in order to be edible and dessert is likely to be a pie or crumble or even a frosted cake. The food we want to eat now is food that takes time.
This fits nicely with spending a little more of our lives indoors, as the weather turns chilly and cold rains fall. It also fits in with the agrarian timetable, when the bulk of the planting and harvesting is behind us and there might be a few extra minutes to spend at the stove. Most of us aren't on that timetable anymore but still, it beats in our blood, and we quite naturally find ourselves falling into its rhythms. If you're like me, you feel a little rush of pleasure when waking up on a Sunday morning with the thought of putting together a nice, hearty soup for dinner.
The time and effort we spend on things reveals our deepest heart, for we cannot labor long at something that isn't important to us. Look at what you choose to do and you will see who you are. Me, I'm a slightly introverted haus frau, at least for today. Cold weather cooking gives me an excuse to be a little fussier than normal, to chop and dice and mince my way into a quiet, contented feeling. I want to spend more time close to the stove where it's warmer and promises of a delicious supper rise up like steam from a freshly baked dinner roll.
I'm old-fashioned in that I've come to value the things in my life that have an enduring, time-invested quality to them, like the well-worn wooden spoon that belonged to my mother or the soft wrinkled linen of an old tea towel. I've got nothing against bright, sparkly newness but in the end I treasure most the worn smooth surfaces of things that have been around a while: an old dutch ovens glazed with the patina of countless stews, a sweater with an unravelled hem, a favorite mug with a little chip in the rim that feels pleasingly rough on my lip.
Fall is the season where time reveals a deeper truth, a more settled and seasoned way of knowing, the wisdom and delight of the imperfect.
Music to accompany this post: Gillian Welch, Time (Revelator)
(Image: Dana Velden)