Taste the Color

September 29, 2010 by Ellen Stimson in Autumn, Vermont. New England

Outside….I go there over and over all day long with Oscar our puppy. Oscar is just the excuse. I love all the color wrapping around our smallholding. We are surrounded by sugar maples and they are strutting their stuff in a snazzy parade of red and orange. This was supposed to be a bad year for foliage after the long hot dry summer. We weren’t supposed to tell the tourists. There were even newspaper articles telling us essentially how to spin fall so that the first tourists would tell their friends who would come and then go home and tell their friends in a long cycle of welcome to Vermont you can smell the log fires, feel the dry crackling leaves and get in the mood to spend some money on a fly rod or a lovely handmade cape. There were dire warnings too about the negative effects of revealing that we’d had a hot summer or that the color was supposed to be weaker this year.
Well, tell the trees. We had a rainy September so maybe that saved it. I don’t know, but right now it’s like all of nature is in on it. You go to the farmer’s market and you can see the colors deepening even in the food. There are dark purply potatoes, wine red beets and deep orange squash and golden butternut in the fields set out on tables ten feet from the bottom of the big red mountain.
Today is the color of champagne. It is sparkly and golden and the sun is acting all showoffy and glittering like there will never be another day so beautiful. We had our first fall supper last night with onions in a Jack Daniel’s balsamic reduction atop fat local pork chops next to a butternut squash Vermont cheddar scramble. The whole thing was topped with maple syrup laced pecans. Tonight there will be little local game hens with sweet potatoes in a lime cumin yogurt.
I love the bounty of summer foods. Fact is we are still getting raspberries and blackberries off the bushes in our yards. There is nothing quite like fresh orange juice and strawberries on a hot July morning. But there is something especially wonderful about nutmeg and squash on a plate that exactly mirrors the color outside the windows too. Apparently I like to cook in color. If the colors go together so usually does the taste. And the colors right now taste like maple and apple to me. It must be getting close to time for pumpkin soup.


  • Library Lady

    You have a way with words, but since I'm facing a frozen meatloaf-and-mashed-potatoes entree, it's a cruel way! I would love to be there and taking a trip to the Irish store to buy a cape or something in my new size. Oh well, our trees will turn soon and maybe I'll just KNIT MYSELF A SHAWL.

  • Kate

    Aren't the colors spectacular? Soak them in, my friend.

  • painted maypole

    i have been eating lots of fall foods, too. yum.

    glad you are getting good color. we are loving having a midwestern fall for the first time after a decade of southern living.

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