Cooking with the seasons

Despite not having slept too much last night, Oliver and I made it to the market after dropping Jack off. We needed milk, juice and a few other necessities, but my fridge was also starting to look the teensiest bit vacant, so I took his lead and said "sure, let's go get juice!"  He decided that he also wanted tulips and nut thins which I thought were terrific additions to our list, and I spied a few lingering Italian plums and peaches.Without hesitation (though with some awareness of canning obsession), I bought some and thought I'd make one last round of jam. Buying, enjoying and preserving things for later when they're in season makes me feel more connected with the natural course of the natural world; honoring their schedules makes me appreciate much more deeply that these treats only come around for a seemingly brief time each annum. There's a reason that tomatoes are gross in February, watermelons peak in June/July, squash are divided into summer and winter varieties and so forth. And watching fall usher out summer's bounty, it is almost an urgency I feel to save what I can of it for later.

Last night as I stirred and stewed all that apple butter, I almost didn't mind the bone-deep fatigue consuming me. I felt like a cross between Strega Nonna with her pot and an early American farm woman doing what needed to be done with the harvest before it spoiled. Quite a stretch I know what with my food mill and various other accoutrements, but still, there is something about the process of doing the work rather than paying for it to be done for you that gives you a sense of appreciation for and connection to all that goes into the cycle of growth, harvest, and consumption in its most elemental form.

Lest you think I'm morphing into a Luddite who wants to move off the grid, I'm not. But I like feeling this connection.