life vegetables

Quiet Days

21 September 2009

I think I have a Problem. All I want to do lately — occasional ridiculous Saturday nights out notwithstanding — is lie on the couch and drink tea and listen to music and read the pile of magazines I can’t ever seem to get through (Vogue, Gourmet, New Yorkers, Runner’s World — perhaps too many, you say?) and be very hibernatory. It’s not even close to winter yet! I have things to Do! And yet … and yet. There is something very wonderful about not doing much of anything, laundry and chores be darned. I am finding excuses to slip up to the roof for a 1/2 hour on sunny Sunday afternoons, drinking lots of ice water because it’s hot, and operating in complete denial that tomorrow is the first day of fall.

However, given these realities, I fear I will become terribly boring or, perhaps worse, completely addicted to this very humdrum, quiet-life (but yet, it’s so satisfying in an absolutely simple way). This, then, may mean there will be a lack of spirited adventure in my life for a time, which could be a shame if I chose to look at it that way (in fact I will choose to look at it from the perspective that if I’m going to pay for those magazine subscriptions I had better read them all). But this may also mean I will have the time and inclination to indulge in more cooking projects, which really would not be a shame at all.

It’s true I need some new ideas: this weekend I made delicious brownies that I’ve made countless times before, and I’ve had my standard quinoa soup and couscous-vegetable soup in heavy rotation. These are all worthy indulgences but I’ve made them so many times before. I’m thinking it might be time to switch it up a little bit.

Another current Problem is the Problem of Vegetables — meaning that I am addicted to salads in these waning days of Indian Summer and really can’t get enough. Then, too, there are the cauliflowers I’m roasting, the beets I’m baking, the heirloom tomatoes I’m cutting up and either roasting along with the aforementioned cauliflowers or just tossed with a little olive oil and salt to eat. There are the nights of spinach and and broccoli, the radishes I cut up intending to throw in those salads but instead chomp away on out of hand …

Clearly I have it pretty good.

San Francisco in September shimmers, all blue and and white-gold with sun. The breeze picks up in the afternoons but it’s not cold; rather, it’s a brief reminder fall is not only at the doorstep but has one foot firmly over the threshold and I’d better pour him a glass of wine and get used to his presence because he’s not going anywhere no matter how unpleasant I might find his company (no — I love fall. I do. It’s just that I love summer more. You know how it is.). Winter will soon follow, bringing with it a few stinging days of bitter temperatures in November when downtown feels sharp and whisked clean with the cold — still, that’s a ways away from now. I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

But I’m feeling a bit quiet. I think that tends to happen for me ’round the time of a seasonal shift — it’s hard not to feel wistful for the days of longer light and sweet sun as we count down to the winter solstice. Already it’s dark earlier than a few months ago and while the farmers’ markets are still packed with delicious things I caught sight of brussel sprouts last weekend — the truest sign of fall I can think of.

It’s coming. I have to get ready. Just as soon as I finish last week’s New Yorker. And eat those roasted tomatoes.

  • Haley J. 23 September 2009 at 8:02 am

    Roasted tomatoes and The New Yorker, really, are fine excuses to stay in. Fall is chilly enough to make home seem truly wonderful and inviting, without any of the cabin-fever that sets in during the cold of winter. Oh, I would say enjoy it, and drink a cup of darjeeling if you need any more convincing.

  • Hilary F 22 September 2009 at 5:41 pm

    This completely reflects my mindset on this first day of Fall. We are so lucky to live in San Francisco and have farmers markets all year round, but the changing of the seasons is still significant. Thank you.

  • Michele 22 September 2009 at 9:49 am

    What a beautiful post!

  • Stash 22 September 2009 at 9:23 am

    Autumn in SF is the best time of the year in your part of the country. Color me envious. Conversely I find spring to be the equivalent in New York City.

    FOUR MORE WEEKS of tomatoes and then we bid farewell until next year. So sad…

  • Sprouted Kitchen/Sara 22 September 2009 at 8:42 am

    i’m with you… when the season’s change, i tend to re-evaluate. Sometimes makes me sad…contemplative and introverted. It’s ok, soak it in, it always passes.

  • denise (chez danisse) 22 September 2009 at 8:31 am

    I think I want your problem. I thank you for your beautiful and calm post. You always remind me to calm down and then I always speed back up. Just keep posting, okay, or I might get myself into trouble. It looks like another blissful and sunny day in SF–enjoy!