‘Tis the season of apples, pumpkins, black cats and twisted tales, so we’re getting our Fall on this week with a three course meal of old favorites.
I suppose one could say this post is equal parts miao, morbid, and mmmmm. 🙂
PRIMO: THE SONG OF THE JELLICLES
I love cracking open my Edward Gorey version of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Not only does it remind me of when we saw Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Cats” in London many moons ago (I’ve been licking my paws and prancing about ever since), but of the pleasant after dinner walks Len and I used to take around our old neighborhood.
You see, two streets down and around the corner we were usually greeted by a Jellicle Cat. A fine fellow he was, all tuxedo-ed up for the ball under the bright moonlight. He was both sleek and adorable, having washed behind his ears and between his toes (he knew we were coming). A Fred Astaire of cats, we think of him still.
Hello Friends. Can’t believe it’s already the end of October!
Fall is going much too fast for me. I wish there was a way to make it last longer — trees aflame with color, deep blue skies, crisp mornings, apple everything and friendly pumpkins! If I had my way, I would skip summer entirely and have two autumns in a row.
More than any other season, Fall reminds me to make the most of each moment. Lovely though it may be, there’s always this sense of reckoning, the gathering in and taking stock, and with that an acute awareness of life’s evanescence.
AUTUMN by Linda Pastan
I want to mention
without meaning the death
of somebody loved
or even the death
of the trees.
Today in the market
I heard a mother say
Look at the pumpkins,
it’s finally autumn!
And the child didn’t think
of the death of her mother
which is due before her own
but tasted the sound
of the words on her clumsy tongue:
Let the eye enlarge
with all it beholds.
I want to celebrate
color, how one red leaf
flickers like a match
held to a dry branch,
and the whole world goes up
in orange and gold.
I had my eye on it well before its official release date back in August, marveling like everyone else when it proceeded to rack up *starred review* after *starred review* (Booklist, PW, SLJ, Kirkus), my excitement steadily building until I finally held a copy in my hands and devoured every word. Oh my, oh yes! No wonder! Every accolade this book has received is so well deserved.
One bright fall day, Sophie chose a squash at the farmers’ market.
Her parents planned to serve it for supper, but Sophie had other ideas.
These ideas included naming her squash Bernice, holding her, bouncing her on her knee, tucking her into bed and taking her everywhere. Ever the steadfast friend, Sophie refuses her mother’s gentle prodding to cook Bernice and rejects her father’s attempts to pacify her with a new toy to take Bernice’s place.
But as time goes on, Bernice develops splotchy “freckles,” so Sophie decides to act on a farmer’s advice to keep Bernice healthy. She tucks her into “a bed of soft soil”, then waits out a wistful winter, hoping Bernice is okay. Come Spring, with all the snow melted, Bernice magically re-emerges, soon gifting Sophie with two wonderful surprises, as only the best of friends can do.
Okay Okay. I KNOW I’ve been a tad indecisive lately, asking you to call me Melon Head, then Apple Dumpling, and last week, Apple Pudding.
And not for a second would I presume to be as adorable as little bossy lady Lucy up there who without a doubt personifies the term of endearment, “Pumpkin,” like no one else.
I am now a Pumpkin Girl, having braved the chilly winds and hoodie-cladded throngs of wriggly, hyper-adenoidal munchkins with their parental units who led the charge at Cox Pumpkin Farm this past weekend.
Oh, so brave! Are you impressed by the sacrifice? All just for you, natch.
Today we celebrate the joy that is pumpkinness with an iconic poem and some pumpkin pie. Are you wearing your orange bib? I notice you have on your Halloween mask again. That’s good too.
Often shared at Thanksgiving, this is an interesting poem because of Whittier’s reference to pumpkin carving in his boyhood, which suggests the practice predated widespread Irish immigration to the U.S. in the 1840’s (hat tip to American Scrapbook for that tidbit).
As you probably know, the Irish had the most influence on the celebration of Halloween (they used to carve out turnips to light the way on their midnight Autumn ramblings). In America they simply substituted pumpkins since they were so plentiful.
Whittier’s tribute to the pumpkin first appeared in the Boston Chronotype in 1846, and I must say I do like his mention of pumpkin pie!
“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Every Autumn, I fall in love with apples all over again.
I reread my favorite apple poems, visit the farmers market to say hello to my friends Stayman, York, Winesap, Fuji, Rome, and Jonathan, drink lots of warm cider and best of all, look for new apple recipes.
No matter how you eat them — out of hand, in salads or in every conceivable baked treat, it’s all good.
Repeat after me:
Apple Tea Cake Swedish Apple Pie Grandma’s Apple Crisp Rustic Apple Brown Betty Buttermilk Apple Buckle Apple Pandowdy Apple Cider Donuts Apple Clafoutis
See, you’re smiling. Are you thinking of family chattering at the table, the wonderful smell of cinnamon-y apples wafting from the oven, the safe, happy place of your childhood kitchen? Apples have that effect on people.
Today, just because you look all perky and adorable, we’re serving Baked Apple Oatmeal Pudding.
I love sinking my teeth into Dorianne Laux’s delectable poem because of the way it celebrates how wide ranging our apple associations are. Nature’s wondrous, perfect blushing orb — hold it in your hand, hold worlds within a world for all time. There from the beginning (A is for Apple Pie! an apple for the teacher), what piece of real or imagined history will you taste with that first bite?