Ah, the first day of fall. Every year I anxiously await autumn with its cooler days, beautiful foliage, fabulous fashions and hearty food. I’m always happy when the oppressive heat and humidity of summer passes and the nights become comfortable for sleeping. I love pulling out my favourite boots, sweaters and scarves to wear on chilly mornings. Crisp apples, delicious braises, butternut squash, rich mushroom dishes and Thanksgiving are just some of the culinary highlights of fall. I love putting a fire on in the fireplace in the evenings and lingering with friends over dinner on rainy nights. This year there’s only one problem with this picture: I’m not ready.
The summer of 2009 was a complete washout where I live. The weather was incredibly cool and wet – hot summery days were few and far between. Toronto experienced a lengthy city worker’s strike for the first month and a half of summer which closed pools, halted waste pick up and filled parks with huge piles of smelly garbage (and led to an explosion in the wasp population, which has caused problems recently). I live a block and a half from the beach and didn’t go once this year. Ironically, September has been the best month of the season so far; it’s been dry, sunny and warm every day. Unfortunately, everyone is back at work and school and can’t enjoy it.
I wish we could hold on to summer just a little longer but time marches on. So I will embrace the joys of autumn. Soon the fall markets will be piled high with great produce and I can make favourites such as Braised Short Ribs and Apple Pie again (I’m actually more partial to braising than grilling anyway). And before you know it, we’ll be enjoying the first asparagus and fiddleheads of spring again!
Check back in the coming weeks for lots of new autumn ideas and tips. You can also visit the fall archives for the best of last year’s recipes.
(I don’t want to forget my readers in the southern hemisphere: Welcome to Spring for you! May your spring and summer be better than ours was!)