Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day

This family loves to celebrate holidays by dining extravagantly, and Labor Day weekend was no exception! We started with a breakfast of peach pecan buttermilk and yoghurt pancakes. The good food energized us enough to go work in the garden and do some much needed "housecleaning." We gathered another huge harvest of heirloom tomatoes... and pulled out what was left of the fall beets because the rabbits have demolished them :-(

In keeping with what has become a Labor Day tradition I spent the morning canning tomatoes in various forms. My favorite of the day was the stewed tomatoes with basil, tarragon, onions, and roasted red peppers. Can't wait to use them in warming meals this winter.

It was a wonderful day cooking in the kitchen and I had lots of help! Because I spend so much time in this one room of the house this time of year, Miles has found a way to keep himself entertained! He loves to play "pots & pans" while mom works, and I love to listen to him giggle as he makes all kinds of noise!

I love that he is growing up surrounded by all the smells of the kitchen and learning about our love for food as he watches me preserve the harvest. Today he experienced one of my all time favorite scents as I roasted green chilis in the oven. In New Mexico in the fall the entire market smells like roasted green chilis. Farmers fill spinning baskets rigged over open flames to roast them by the bushel. Our operation was much smaller, but the smell was just as wonderful. The characteristic popping sound as the flesh bursts the browning skins makes my mouth just water imagining all the meals we will use these chilis in.

Later in the day we headed out to Nona and Paw Paw's house. The weather cleared and we were able to grill outside and enjoy even more delicious food! My mom made an amazing potato salad. She also treated us to some of her fried okra - picked fresh from the almost five foot tall plants in the garden - a southerner's delight! Dessert was hand pies filled with local peaches and apples.

We spent some much needed quality time catching up with Aunt Sarah and Uncle David. Before we left my dad and I went on a "tour" of the garden and woods. We picked the first blueberries from the small bushes he has planted, and harvested the very last of the elderberries that the birds have left behind. I look forward to the fact that Miles will grow up knowing this place and will become familiar with flora and fauna of his grandparent's backyard.
As the long weekend ended and everyone heads back to work and school I found myself slowly saying goodbye to summer. I will really try to savor the last rays of sunshine in the shortening days, and be sure to shove as much summer into canning jars as my kitchen will allow so we can taste the season all winter long.

Greg Brown, the well know singer and songwriter from Michigan, describes storing the harvest best in his song "Canned Goods" -

"When I go to see grandma I gain a lot a weight,
With her dear hands she gives me plate after plate.
She cans the pickles sweet and dill
and the songs of the whip-poor-will,
and the morning dew and the evening moon,
I really gotta go down and see her soon
'Cause the canned goods that you buy at the store
Ain't got the summer in 'em anymore.
You bet grandma as sure as your born,
I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm."

(When I first heard this song years ago I found myself secretly hoping that this is how my grandchildren would describe me one day :-) I guess we will just have to wait and see...

No comments:

Post a Comment