Waxing poetic about Autumn

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In Montreal, we have a flair for the dramatic.

I have mixed feelings about autumn right now. I love the season, as a season… but it’s creeping up on me much too fast, and I am just not ready for it. Summer started late, and these 5 °C nights foretell its summation. I crave a long, slow, hot afternoon with an icy drink and a book on the terrace. Or a midnight stroll down the hushed streets and alleys of the Plateau, scotch and clove cigarette in hand, tempting the cats and raccoons into impromptu petting-dates with bags of treats. Instead, I am huddled indoors sipping hot chocolate in my guy’s warmest socks and sweater, barring the blustering leaves and gray skies outside through the lace-covered patio door. Two weeks ago I spent days in nothing but bathing suit bottoms and hiking boots, soaking up the sun and holding it deep in my bones to keep me warm well into the night. This has all happened too quickly. Change is difficult, but that difficulty is a powerful source of energy. Or so I tell myself.

I hate autumn in the city. The cool days and clear nights stir up a deep longing for the crisp, biting sting of frost in the morning cut with steam from a mug of something bittersweet. I want to run away to the woods to bathe in smoke and fire, and hide in the lengthening shadows cast by increasingly bare trees. But instead I am stuck in the humdrum routine of life as a cook, waking early and going to bed late, living in an apron, creating ephemera. I have a vacation booked for the end of October that will take me to the woods…. I am counting the days.

Oh, the humanity.

Oh, the humanity.

I am torn. Pumpkins are right around the corner, but the baskets at the market are overflowing with aubergines and tomatoes and zucchinis now. At the catering company it’s all Jewish holiday food right now- heavy, well-cooked stuff. Warming and comforting. In the homes of families, I have been grilling and baking. Peaches baked til they’re dripping with their own syrup, charred on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside. Easy, kid-friendly week-night stirfries with peanut sauce. Thai eggplant curries with piercingly hot bird chilis tempered by lime and coconut. Tarte tatin and roasted red pepper polenta. Platters of grilled vegetables to pile on fresh-baked olive bread smeared liberally with lemony cilantro cashew cheese.

I have worked so much over the past ten days, I am dead-tired. Fall-asleep-in-my-tarts tired. I have so much to say, because I have been working too hard to speak. My mind has been left to its own devices for too long as I’ve stood over my cutting board aggravating my tendonitis one kilo of potatoes at a time. I want to share with you my thoughts on how to cook in large quantities, and what it’s like being a vegan woman in a male- and meat-dominated industry. I want to give you my recipe for vietnamese crepes. I will take time to write it all out, but first I will rest. I hope the change of the seasons is treating you well, or at least that it is too far off yet to worry about.

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