Culinary Delights, Environment, What is Organic

Autumnal Reflections on a Centerpiece

It’s the final end of what feels like summer.

Fall FareNo question about it, the cicadas have ceased their singing and the sun is waning. Darkness comes early to this hemisphere, this latitude on our spinning globe. As the darkness comes and the earth tilts, so too have the fruits and fare in my overflowing centerpiece bowl changed. This shift of season brings a transformation of how I nourish my body, senses and soul.

The interior lights seem cozy and familiar like an old friend come to visit at my table. I sit and behold the centerpiece of local food from my CSA. Something inside me has changed. I no longer yearn to gorge on tomatoes until I am overcome with rich acidic bliss. Now the last of the tomatoes languish uneaten, no longer ravished with a driving red fever. They are begotten. The end of summer is surely here.

No wonder I am weary early in the eve. The cosmic fat has flourished and now is the time for harvesting that bounty…. It is time for repose and reflection. No more feasting and sunshine frolicking but really going down and into the foretelling of the darkness. Not yet, but almost… I can smell it and hear it and feel it inside my skin. The cold months will soon be here.

It’s the end of ratatouille, gazpacho, and prosciutto-wrapped melon, of nectarine cobbler. Sweet peas and slender asparagus have all but disappeared.

Instead I conjure up thick savory beef and barley stew dripping with shiitakes and turnips. Stuffed kabocha squash filled with wild rice, braised tofu and miso. In my future are piquant corn muffins oozing sharp cheddar and broasted rosemary chicken nesting inside circles of German butterballs. Now is the time to turn my palate to long spears of emerald kale and greens turned sweet from the frost’s first kiss.

This fall feels fat, swollen and fecund like a voluptuous mother ready for a transformation of body, mind and spirit. It feels like the earth’s rotation inside me… Inside, outside, this biosphere we call home; circular cyclical circumpolar forces at work within and without. I will eat with the seasons and feel satiated.

My centerpiece is changing too. Ovoid pumpkins replace blocky red peppers; elongated purple corn supplants curvaceous eggplant. Mounds of crisp Pippin apples yearning for flaky crusts overflow in a nearby bowl. I behold the seasons in my centerpiece and I eat with them accordingly.

Thanks be to all the farmers, cultivators, ranchers, apiculturists and orchardists who have shown me the way to eating with the seasons. They toil all summer so that the bounty of this season may be relished and enjoyed. When I partake of this fall fare I feel and taste their labor, and have gratitude for this next turn of the wheel… and for all the farmers who work within it.

Eat with the seasons and enjoy!

5 thoughts on “Autumnal Reflections on a Centerpiece”

  1. Melody, you write like a Rembrandt paints. Thanks for sharing your words that truly paint all the wonderful pictures and thoughts in our minds.

    1. Dennis,
      I so appreciate your reading it. It’s not the story one tells but the images and feelings one evokes in others that is lasting. I am honored to have the feeling of friendship with you for so many years.

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