The reason I want to write broadly about fall foods, apart from the little thrill an alliterative title gives me, is because today was the first really chilly day of the year and I hated it and I need a reason to enjoy this ridiculously cold season. So here’s an ode to fall foods, the rich bits of savory and sweet goodness that make sweater weather something other than an endless hell of frost and red, wind-burned ears.
Let’s start from the top – it’s time to get gourdian, not Gordian, though actually, if you have a sword, then I bet it could be useful in cutting the gourds and with what flair! I’ve written before about my battle with butternut squash and its relatives, but regardless of my own culinary shortcomings, I love these foods. Butternut squash soup, butternut squash ravioli, acorn squash, spaghetti squash with saucey sauce. And what’s best – even better than the rich flavor and the almost creamy gourdy flesh – is the cheerful warm color of the entire food. Look, if I am going to get less sunshine, then I better have basically sunshine incarnate on my plate.
From there, let’s move onto chili. Chili is one of my top three all time favorite fall foods. It is hot and spicy and warm and delicious and filling. Growing up in Kentucky, I learned that chili can be dumped on top of a small bed of noodles, Cincinnati-style, and that just makes my day. I mean, I love noodles beyond all reason and here I am eating it with one of my favorite ever fall foods. I like making at least two bean chili and throwing in some Serrano peppers and tomatillos, but it wasn’t until I moved out here to California that I actually even got to see tomatillos in the store, so while I love the little touches, they aren’t necessary. The very best thing about chili, though, is that it basically makes itself: I get the pot going and then I can swan around my apartment like I’m the Queen of Beans.
Finally, fall is the season of breads. Not that you can’t eat great bread year round, but when I think about the amazing miracle that is fresh cornbread with a little butter on top, or pumpkin bread with stealth chocolate chips lurking in its delicious depths, I certainly don’t think of spring (though, reflecting on that confession, I wonder if perhaps I’m not the one who is doing life a little wrong in that regard). The warmth of the oven, the warmth of the bread, it is the perfect sweater amplifier.
For me, I am not one of the people running to fall, and the tea and socks and sweaters that come with it. I am desperately trying to cling to the last glimmers of summer, reluctant to see the sunshine practically disappear for months on end. But these foods – these foods remind me that it is not all bad. Heck, there might even be something to love about fall.
What fall foods are you excited for?