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- Ratty, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
I’ve been trying, especially recently, to cook with produce that’s in season and avoid buying fruit and vegetables from faraway, exotic lands. I think seasonal cooking and eating makes the most sense. But it’s more than that; in my mind, every season is very strongly associated with certain foods.
Autumn will forever be a time of new beginnings for me, even when I’m not a student. A season of changes, bonfires, sharpened pencils, and trees covered in fiery-coloured leaves. I long for crisp, autumnal mornings spent in the kitchen, with the smell of freshly baked bread in the air. Whether it’s slices of crunchy bloomer with eggs for breakfast or tangy sourdough slathered in butter after a restorative walk in the countryside, bread makes up a large part of my autumnal baking and eating.
Then winter comes and all I want is simply large quantities of soup. Soup brings me so much comfort on gloomy, dark winter days. I adore winter suppers of creamy mushroom soup, zingy Greek augolemono or my mum’s warming vegetable broth. Ideally there will be a fire burning in the fireplace (which in reality is not a working fireplace) and my favourite people around the table.
When spring arrives, it’s as if everything is fragrant and colourful and warm. Delicate blush pink blossoms and meadows covered in wildflowers fill me with a desire to bake all kinds of sweet concoctions. There’s such an abundance of all sorts of fruit that pie-making feels obligatory. The perfect spring day must involve at least some time lazing in the garden with a book and a thick slice of a Victoria sponge cake with cream and raspberry jam.
I always think of the summers of my childhood as endless series of hot days at the beach. Even though, in the adult world, summer is not so rosy-coloured anymore, I still enjoy the fresh seafood that this season brings. Sea bream requires as little done to it as possible. I have memories of having this, grilled, with a good squeeze of lemon and some chopped parsley, my hair still wet and sea salt drying on my skin. Trout, shrimp, squid, tuna, and salmon, they all have a place on my table come summer.
It’s a never-ending cycle really. As seasons change, I always go back to my favourite foods and everything seems to be associated with a memory or a feeling. However, year after year, new people and new experiences are inevitably translated to new culinary adventures that become new memories and make each year seem better than the one before. And that’s all the fun.
Do you associate certain foods with certain seasons, people and occasions?
So there’s a tree outside the church of St. Mary the Virgin. The church is a beautiful medieval building (it used to house the University’s library consisting of about 12 books before the Bodleian was built) and I assume the tree is pretty old too; its branches are all twisted and they make the narrow passage by the church even narrower.
These days, the tree is looking its best. The sweetest little pink blossoms adorn all its branches and they offer a startling splash of colour among all the medieval buildings.
Naturally, I long to take pictures of this beautiful scene: the first hints of spring in the form of delicate flowers with a backdrop of stunning architecture. It’s a no-brainer. Unfortunately there seems to be some sort of cosmic conspiracy aimed at keeping me from doing just that.
I walk past the tree almost every day and yet I am never able to take a picture. It is either raining or it is dark, I’m either rushing to catch a train or I’m carrying groceries. I never seem to be able to stop and take my time taking pictures. The best I could do so far was to take this quick snap that I posted on Instagram this morning.
I am however determined to find some time over the weekend, hopefully with the sun shining, to grab my camera and finally take the pictures. So stay tuned.
My everyday outfits in winter are variations of three themes: my pair of soft denim straight jeans from Uniqlo with some combination of shirts and jumpers, my pair of skinny jeans from Uniqlo with some combination of longer shirts and jumpers, or sweater dresses with tights. All these I wear either with flats or with flat boots. And that’s pretty much what I wear from november till March.
I’ve noticed that what I consider to be bad days seem more likely to happen when I’m wearing the skinny jeans. When I’m wearing my soft denim pair (which I call “my hug jeans” because that’s what they feel like) or dresses with tights, I tend to be in a better mood that lasts till the end of the day. There’s definitely a correlation there. I’m not saying that my skinny jeans have an effect on when rotten days from hell occur, but I think it’s quite difficult to feel rubbish when you are just so comfortable.
I know this result is not quite publishable but it’s something that I’ll definitely keep it in mind next time I go clothes shopping.