Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Liquid Fall

The weather is finally getting that crisp, fall coolness that I love. Autumn is my season. It always has that feel of excitement to me…the first day of school and all of the school year possibilities, new books, new clothes, new classes, new friends…fall is football games, jackets and scarves…fall is homecoming and new pencils…fall is oatmeal cookies and candy corn…costumes and apples…beautiful leaves…cold mornings, warm afternoons, cool crisp evenings, and sometimes even fireplace nights…it’s candles and soup weather…I could go on and on about the things I love about the fall. It’s also the season of my girls—both were born in the fall…

There’s also a smell to fall…crunchy leaves, fire, pumpkin, squash, hot tea…and nutmeg. I opened up my spice drawer the other morning and the first thing I saw was my nutmeg bottle. I opened it up and it took me back to Grandma’s house. She had a drawer where she kept spices and sprinkles and measuring cups. I loved the smell of that drawer and all of its possibilities. Grandma made some wonderful treats—mostly without recipes, and a lot of time without measuring ingredients. She was a farm girl and made her signature dishes for so long that she just knew how much was needed. She made comfort food—things she passed along to my mom, so they are my comfort foods, too. One thing she made that I still love is warm milk. It sounds weird, but it is delicious. You can get these milk drinks from Starbucks, too—but at Starbucks they are called steamers and they cost a small fortune. Grandma’s “steamers” are just as delicious; you can make them for a fraction of the cost, and enjoy them in the comfort of your own home—in your p.j.s if you want! This is how Grandma made hers: warm up milk on the stove top (not in the microwave), add sugar and vanilla to the desired sweetness, and then sprinkle some nutmeg on top. Simple, scrumptious. (You can also get flavored syrups to add to the milk for flavor, but Grandma’s version works just fine for me.)

Whenever I want to wrap myself up in the luxury of the season, I make myself one of Grandma’s steamers, light a candle, and sit by the fire. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Love every day. Each one is so short and they are so few.” In these difficult economic times, our simple, personal rituals can help us to embrace the beauty of the season and of life’s small pleasures. Even if I don’t have time for the candle and the fire, a quick mug of liquid fall goes a long way! Happy Autumn!

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

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