Is Summer Really Over?

NOOOO, say it isn’t so! Being from New England, fall is one of my favorite times of year. It signals a reboot. I haven’t cleaned my house (don’t judge) since June because I was doing fun stuff outside. We can open our windows because the mercury has dipped below 70. Heck, we might even be able to start a fire in the fireplace.  

Food is definitely one of those things that changes when fall rolls around. The kids are back in school, and vacations are a pile of sand in the back of the car. Our lives are more scheduled than they were three months ago. With all of this change, our eating habits change as well. All of the sudden, we don’t have time to prepare dinner and we cannot get everyone to sit down together at the same time. The produce doesn’t look as it once did. The corn has vanished, and don’t get me started on the end of tomato season. 

We tend to reach for more convenient foods quicker. I was in a store recently and a woman was buying a vegetarian (pre-packaged) sandwich and juice box. When she got to the register, she explained “the sandwich and juice were for my son. I’m just getting back into the swing of things and didn’t have time to make him lunch”.  

It made me think. Why did she feel compelled to “explain”? Are we making people feel bad, because they didn’t put a four-course lunch together for their kid? I wanted to hug her and tell her it was ok. Have you watched the movie “Bad Moms”? I have watched it four times already. If you get a chance, get it. I think it hits home for a lot of us, kids or not. The premise is we cannot do it all, all of the time. We do what we can, the best way we can.   

I will come clean. I bought Trader Joes spicy pork sausages a couple of weeks ago, I LOVED THEM. I grilled them with white beans, rosemary and white wine, then put it all on top of Boston lettuce leaves. Think lettuce tacos. I cannot remember the last time we had sausages. Eating those sausages didn’t kill us, but if we ate them all of the time, it wouldn’t be good. At all.

Eating whole foods regularly allows us to venture off the tracks every now and then. Even though the produce section isn’t as colorful as it was a couple of months ago, there is still great produce, it’s just different. Cooking is actually easier to do in the fall and winter because everything is so freezer friendly. You make one big meal, eat what you can, then freeze the rest for later on! I love nothing more than opening my freezer and seeing a slew of food that I prepared just waiting to be thawed, heated and then joyously eaten with little to no clean up.

We may be entering fall, but even in California, we can still “bulk up”. Our freezers, that is. Preparing whole foods couldn’t be easier during this time of year, really. Don’t let those funny looking squashes get the best of you. They are super nutritious, filling, and easy to prepare. That goes the same for beans, lentils, beets. In our October class, we are making a red curry lentil soup. It is amazingly simple and delicious. I hope to see you there.

If you have any questions or thoughts, I would love to hear from you: chefjennoc@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by, Jenn