You say that you can’t cook; I say, Give it time. I know it looks like people are born with fresh muffins coming out of their ovens, but it’s not true. Everybody starts somewhere. And the first time you try to cook, especially if that first time is when you’re no longer a kid and there’s nobody around to tell you what to do, it’s scary because you don’t know what will happen. Everybody knows this. Most people forget this, but everybody knows this. We all have different motivations for trying something in the kitchen at the beginning: adventure, curiosity, boredom, hunger, need. Whatever yours is, I probably felt it at one point or another. I grew up in a cooking household, the kind where my mom made dinner every night and my grandma’s life centered around what was simmering on the stove. I don’t remember learning from them to love to eat; I think I absorbed it naturally, the way I absorbed language or liking to laugh. Learning to cook was something different, though. Learning to cook took time—takes time—I mean, because, in a lot of ways, learning to cook is something I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.
Quick! Before the leaves are all gone! Make some soup and pack yourself a picnic! At least that’s what we did on Saturday, right in the middle of a day when we should have been getting ahead with work projects and, I don’t know, balancing the checkbook. Even though it was raining and the skies were gray, we practiced hope by loading up a picnic basket, hopping in the car, and driving 20 minutes east where, miraculously, we found ourselves in the crisp fall day that was The Hermitage.
Pretty travel pictures, much as I love them, rarely paint the full story of a trip away. Our Maine recap didn’t tell you about the horrible migraine I had our first night, for example, nor about the day we drove a full two hours away from Portland, looking for lunch, only to find three different restaurants closed (all I can say is thank goodness for this coffee shop and its quiche!). The afternoon we flew home from Boston to Chicago, it was after a fast morning stuck in crazy Cambridge traffic during which I had to pee so bad I actually sat there imagining myself getting out of the car, right on the busy highway, to take care of business in the median that was noticeably lacking in bushes or general greenery. (We did finally find a Dunkin Donuts, and even though I had to buy something in order to get the manager to buzz me into the bathroom, I was so happy to enter it, I almost cried.) Sunday night, when we came home, it was after a combined total of 2,000+ miles of driving (most of that driving done by Tim) in the last few weeks, the kitchen had no fresh food but the murcotts we’d kept in our bags with us, and we had a car full of the goods I’m ever transporting, one trip at a time from my parents’ place to mine, to unpack.
We just enjoyed a two-week trial of Grammarly for proofreading—because everybody can use an extra pair of eyes. Learn more about this online editing service in the footer!
Two days ago on our morning walk, Tim and I put on sweatshirts. Yesterday, I pulled out my boots for the first time since May. Today, the window’s open in the bathroom, and even from the next room over, I can smell the fresh air and feel a cool breeze coming in (the high today in Nashville was 72 degrees). What’s more, down the hall and in the kitchen, the oven is on, and I have a pot filled with root vegetables boiling on the stove. Fall is here, officially and obviously, and I’ve been dressing, eating and, what I’m trying to say, I guess, is enjoying this new season, even when it means summer’s gone.
But before we get too deep in changing leaves, could I get one last hurrah for summer? I hate to say it as a lifelong October lover, but sometimes I’m nostalgic for the season that ends (besides winter). And while I was all set to pack away this late summer squash recipe for next year, our Monday CSA pickup brought a few more of the yellow squash we’ve been seeing the last few weeks. So I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind if I slipped this late summer squash quinoa dish in? You could, of course, swap out the yellow squash with a nice winter one, cubed and roasted with oil until it’s caramelized. You could, also, decide to go elsewhere for a recipe featuring pumpkin or apples. I’ll understand.
For now, here’s a quinoa dish we enjoyed before the temperatures dropped and the days shortened. It’s a reminder of the beauty that was, even as we walk forward into the beauty that is and the kind that is to come.