The fresh fragrance of fall has greeted my nose as my golden retriever, Gracie, and I have been out for our brisk morning walks together. It’s that exhilarating smell that signals the transition of summer to autumn. It prompts me to say good-bye to the comfort I’ve settled into during one season and get ready to embrace new experiences of the days ahead. I remember feeling the same way when I was a child anticipating the start of a new school year.
For Midwesterners who love to eat food fresh from the garden, this is the best time of year. Local gardens are teaming with bright heavy tomatoes, slender green beans, colossal cabbages, a variety of peppers, zucchini almost as long as my arms – all kinds of vegetables – fresh and full of flavor. I am getting a few tomatoes and some gorgeous Hungarian and Bulgarian peppers from my own garden, but other than herbs, that’s all I can get to grow. I rely on the expert growers selling their harvest at farmers markets and friends who have very green thumbs and are willing to share.
I think Julia Child would love Bemidji, the community in northern Minnesota I’ve called home for 11 years. I never had the opportunity to meet the woman who brought French cooking into American home kitchens, but I’ve read a lot about her and I’ve visited with people who knew the wonder woman who suggested good fun, good food and good flavor go hand-in-hand in the kitchen.
Last summer when I was spending time with my young granddaughter, the ice cream truck rolled down the street. We could hear the lilting, clearly recognizable music coming from the truck when it was a block or two away. Suddenly, I was a child again. We ran into the house for some money, in a panic the truck would come by before we got back outside. And then we giggled with excitement as that feeling of great relief washed through us when we could hear the music getting closer. Sitting cross-legged on the grass near the curb, we waited and thought about what cold sweet treat we might choose.