I am totally gorging on Fall.
Which is probably why I’ve gained three pounds. (I don’t actually believe it. I’m suing the scale for accuracy. Tomorrow it will tell me something completely different. It lies. And confuses the cat when she steps on it. And sometimes inexplicably switches from pounds to kilograms. But mostly it lies.)
I will admit: Fall is my favorite season not least because of the comfort food it brings. Apple cake, mac & cheese, pots of soup, Crock Pot creations, potatoes (damn you, potatoes – I wish I knew how to quit you), and various hearty types of fare have come out of my kitchen in recent weeks. I am ardently, if breezily, badgering a coworker for her incredibly rich lasagna recipe, having realized that the one I grew up with is disappointingly inauthentic and blah. (My grandmother was 100% German, for cripe’s sake. Her parents came off the boat in 1914 and her mother never left the house after that. Who told her she knew how to make lasagna?) The trouble is, I love to cook, and I cook for the week on my days off, but then even if I only make two entrees, I wind up with too much food because it’s just little ol’ me around here. And sometimes I don’t eat what I made because I have dinner with Jack or Ali on a night off, or I’m not in the mood to eat what I made and I have to get out of the basement where I work, so I go down the street to fetch something instead. Plus, one cannot make individual servings of tomato basil bisque, or beef stew, or casserole. I share what I cook sometimes, but then the trouble with that is that the recipients share back, sending me home with meatloaf or pasta.
And then there are the yummies from other establishments, like pumpkin spice lattes and hot cocoa from Starbucks. They’re usually way too sweet for me and I hate drinking my fat intake (I’d rather save the fat for chewing), so the lattes are skim and I skip the whip every time, but the hot cocoa cannot be compromised.
Do not. Compromise. The cocoa.
And then… there is the bounty of Thanksgiving. This is a bounty I’ve missed out on for years because I’ve had to work. But this year, I’ve just learned, I will be off on Thanksgiving. And the heavens opened, and a chorus of chubby little cherubim with dark meat turkey legs in one dimpled hand and bowls of homemade stuffing in the other dimpled hand sang “hallelujah” around the gobs of grub in their cheeks.
"I wonder if we'll have broccoli in butter sauce." -"Yeah, or green bean casserole. I love that stuff."
(Then, out of nowhere, my father swooped in and gave them searing looks for singing with their mouths full. He would have done it for singing at the table, too, but cherubim don’t have to sit at a table to eat. So instead they got looks for not sitting at the table to eat. Even though they have wings and they float on clouds and the tables would fall through the clouds, so that’s totally unfair, Dad.)
Point is, this is the time of year when I fantasize about stuffing. I could go into some warm and glowy homespun story about the tradition of stuffing-making in our family; the recipe and the way everyone contributes, but I’ll save that for a time closer to when we’re actually making it. This year, my father’s older brother and sister-in-law are hosting Thanksgiving, so I won’t be contributing, but Christmas will be at my parents’ house right after they move back from Florida to commence retirement (yes, they are moving out of Florida when they retire) and it will be on like Donkey Kong.
I have Christmas off for the first time in years, too. Cue seraphim covered in cookie crumbs.
"Behold! The kingdom of the Lord is at hand! Not that hand, THIS hand. Put some of those butter cookies in it. They're... uh, they're for the baby Jesus. Yeah."
I’m indulging in other signature Fall experiences, as well; cuddling up in my big fleece robe or under a blanket on my huggy couch, watching some scary show or a feel-good movie, or reading a book. Grinning like a sappy fool at pictures of Twin Nephs in the pumpkin patch. Breathing deep the scent of burning fireplaces in crisp evening air, or of comfort-scented candles. Pulling the covers up over my head and sleeping a little longer. Sipping big red wines instead of chilled white ones. And staring at clear blue skies with changing leaves below them, trying to gauge exactly when the colors at the nature trail will peak on a similarly crystal-skied day before losing their leaves in a single rainstorm, and whether it will coincide with my days off so I can go take pictures like I hope to do every year, but never can because I always miss the prime conditions.
Maybe I’ll actually walk a good chunk of the trail while I’m playing photographer. I’ve got at least two holidays full of stuffing to prepare for.