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?