Friday, September 14, 2007

Food Seasons...and other Crazy Concepts


As the heat and humidity of summer melts into the cool crispness of autumn, I look forward to the comfort food that comes with the cooler weather. While the bounty of summer and its sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and bounty of produce grown virtually in our own backyard is a constant culinary inspiration, by September I am ready for cool evenings, sweaters, football, and fall foods. Winter squashes, oysters, soups and stews, and gingerbread have their own charms on cool evenings, and crockpot cooking becomes the norm in our house at least once a week once the nighttime temps are in the 50s.

Which brings me to a discussion my husband and I have every once in awhile when I suggest something for dinner that he says is "Fall food" in the summer, or "Summer food" in the winter. He has a very rigid way of categorizing foods based on when he feels they are best eaten. For example, taco salad is a "summer food" while any kind of pot pie is a "winter food". Roast turkey is a winter food, but roast chicken can be eaten year-round. His categories go beyond the logical, natural seasons of food, and don't always make sense to me, but apparently he is not alone. I have spoken to some other home cooks who also categorize foods this way and they have their own lists of what constitutes seasonal dishes. Here are some of our seasonal foods (according to Gavin), and please share with me how you approach the change of seasons- does it change the type of foods you plan?

"Spring/Summer foods"

Gazpacho (this makes sense to me!)
Taco Salad
Barbecue chicken
Italian Sausage (Kielbasa,however, is a "fall food" in case you were wondering)
Pork butt (picnic)
Ribs (babyback, but short ribs are a fall/winter food)
Lemon meringue or key lime pie


"Fall/Winter Foods"

Roast turkey
Leg of lamb
Any soup except gazpacho
Pasta Fagioli
Chili (any kind)
Pot pie
Squash (except zucchini which is a summer food)
Any stew
Gingerbread

16 comments:

Sara said...

I try to not use the oven a lot when it's really hot, but other than that I don't think I'd only eat a certain dish in certain seasons. Like taco salad? I'd eat that year round! I wouldn't mind one now...

Deborah Dowd said...

Sara-I'm with you on taco salad.I guess in summer the heat makes us crave lighter food, rather than the rib-sticking things we want in the winter! Thanks for checking in.

culinaryprincess said...

I'm like sara! i try my best not to use the oven at all. For example,I normally make chilled cheese cakes in summer and baked cheese cakes in winter.Another thing is i don't eat soup at all during summer :)But love having ice-cream in winter!!!

Me said...

Hmmm, I definitely have seasonal favorites but they are pretty much based on available local produce (that's not all I cook, just how I think about it) and how long I have to have the oven on. I'm puzzled by the taco salad, that kind of makes me laugh :-)

Susan said...

Most definitely. I agree with Sara that summer fare is heavy on salads and dishes that don't require lengthy cooking. With the fall approaching, however, I'm ready to blast the oven for baked pastas, pizzas, pot pies, and roasted veggies such as squash and cauliflower. I'll also be making one or two soups a week from here on in, because what's fall and winter without soup?

Moon said...

I'd say BBQ is summer food but I use the grill all year round. We do eat more salads and less baked items but ever so often I get the bug for meatloaf and I make it on the BBQ.

I agree soup would only be eaten in the winter, oh, except gazpacho, darn.

Deborah Dowd said...

culinaryprincess-Ice cream is good almost anytime (you can put it on something warm like apple pie or gingerbread in the cool weather, and in a cone or shake for the summer!

me- I told you hid theory didn't always make logical sense!

Susan- I have a bunch of soup recipes saved up just waiting for fall weather!

moon- We use our grill sometimes in the cooler weather too. We have a fire pit and sometimes the guys take their cigars out and grill!

Claire said...

I actually can see some logic behind the taco salad thing - I tend to put anything with lettuce more in the spring/summer category, because that's the time when I'm satisfied with cold greens as the basis for any meal, even topped with hot beef. During fall and winter I'm all over the tacos, but tend to go for cooked veggies instead of green salads. It may also have something to do with my deep fear of iceberg lettuce....

(and ice cream should be eaten in every season, without question)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I love this Deborah! I always think of food as to what season it pertains to ! Great list!

Deborah Dowd said...

Claire-Summer is the time for iceberg lettuce (if there is a time for iceberg lettuce!)

Jenndz- I am not telling my husband since he will say "I told you so!"

C said...

Ugh, all I've been thinking about for the last 3 weeks is Beef Stew...and it was too warm to be making it. Soon though, since the leaves have started to turn....

Gattina said...

My family doesn't have this food season concept; and I remember last few winters I'd see watermelon (imported) at stores. Oh about chicken, my husband's way to catergorize... when it's hot, it's for supper; when cold, for breakfast or mid-night snack...

Deborah Dowd said...

c- We are heading to the mountains for a camping trip this weekend where it is cool enough to make a savory beef stew!

Gattina-I like your husband's chicken categorization system, it works!

Ramona said...

I'm a big fan of farmers markets and fortunately we have a lot of good ones near me in the DC/NoVA region. They've inspired me to cook seasonally so right now, when I'm about to grow my own husk from eating so much corn, I'm getting back into making soups and braises. The corn, tomatoes and peaches are giving way to leafy greens and root vegetable. I love it!
-piealamona

Mansi Desai said...

I'm a bit lazy about using the oven too...but sometimes there's just no other option:)

Deborah Dowd said...

Ramona- It is hard to believe that you can get tired of summer sweet corn, but it is possible!

Mansi Desai- The best thing about fall and winter for me is using the crockpot and coming home to the smells of dinner already done!