September is almost gone, I am staring at a bushel basket of basil, a bushel basket of tomatoes, a bushel basket of beans, a bushel basket of crooked neck squash and thinking I would rather write tonight. The wee hours of the morning are better spent on putting things up when it’s 100 degrees at 2pm. It’s cool and quiet then, with nobody running in and out of the kitchen. I have a reverence for food, and if I can’t give it my whole attention I would just as soon give it away or leave it out in the garden.
My mother’s family was a German/ Irish bunch. And my fathers family French / Norwegian! At the Hellwig’s and Weller’s there was always cabbage, root vegetables, potatoes and roasts, good substantial meals. At the Sorensen’s and DeSelle’s, you could bet on fresh fruit and cream and wonderful roasted things with delicate herbs. I loved it all. From the Raspberries and cream my Pa DeSelle used to feed me for breakfast, to the wilted cabbage and wonderful spice cookies Aunt Memo used to make us. All my relatives were either directly from or one generation away from Europe. AND I had an Italian Uncle Frank who was my best uncle! They all came to the United States to make a life and they all ended up on the west coast!
There was always someone cooking up a mess of beans. There was always someone putting up a batch of jam or jelly. There was ALWAYS someone trying to make me try yams in a way that would not make me throw up!
Then there were the neighbors, Hispanic, Eastern European, Texans! As kids we used to run around to each others houses eating our way through the day, until the street lights came on and our mothers started calling us home. Summer was always the best time for food. In my book it beat out Thanksgiving! Everybody had the same stuff on Thanksgiving!
This time of year is really special to me. I love to live in abundance and I love to cook. As I am processing the food we bring in from the gardens I think about the days that the greenhouses felt so good and warm to work in. I remember the seed I planted that grew that tomato! The smell of dirt. The neat little tags to remember what was in the flat. Going out into the garden which is neat but not pretty by any means and finding wonderful surprises! The perfect eggplant. The huge tomato. The volunteer tomatillas! Thinking of those days this winter when I will be happy because I have the best tasting soup from my garden and a fresh loaf of onion cheese bread and a fire and a football game! It doesn’t get any better than this!