Then I went to the supermarket yesterday to pick up a few things and the table of girl scouts and brownies was there! It’s girl scout cookie season already! That was when I realized: other people may have seasons designated summer winter, spring, and fall. . . but I have a few more than four. . . and they’re all named after food.
Okay, I admit it. I LOVE the Valentine’s Day. . . primarily because of the cheesy chocolates. I love the flowers and all that, too, but Valentine’s Day is the only holiday that I relax my vigilance against sweets and truly indulge. Hahahahahaha. Whew. And this year, I was surprised to see, the candy companies have finally taken my suggestion and gotten rid of those pesky candy wrapper cups that always made such a mess. . . not to mention giving away the fact that some of the candy was gone.
January, except for New Year’s Day, is generally casserole season for me. When I was growing up, casseroles were a way to use leftovers. But these days, I spend hours in the kitchen making up fresh ingredients to put into a casserole. . . which will then taste mostly like leftovers. Go figure. The only saving grace of this season is cheese. Without cheese melting and spreading a benediction over everything, casserole season would be a bizarre starchy wasteland.
Then comes heart-shaped chocolate season. . . which we have just completed. Centers on Valentine’s Day, but extends a week or more on either side of the actual date. It was a short, short season this year. Five days. Resulting in the “licked clean” box you see above. sigh. Every year it seems to get shorter.
Then it’s girl scout cookie season. . . which begins with the first “cookie table” sighting outside my favorite Publix supermarket. Some years I’ve been fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood with one of the little “distributors” and have gotten to order direct. But I always feel guilty about giving the little scouts’ dads hernias when they deliver my order.
Following close on is peep season. . . which begins on the first day of Lent. It will be a very short season this year, Lent starting so close to the beginnning of GSC season. This is celebrated mostly in front of stores carrying marshmallow “peeps” in the shape of chicks. You can always tell the sacred celebration spots because the trash cans overflow with yellow and purple “Peeps” wrappers. Most people don’t want to admit eating these things, so they consume them close to the point of purchase and then try to pretend they didn’t indulge. I say, be proud of your heritage. . . even if it is nutritionally bereft.
Afterward comes egg season. Boiled, baked in brunch casseroles, and used to bind together all manner of unlikely ingredients. . . eggs are perhaps our most primal culinary delight. Not to mention being a fertility symbol and connected with Easter. Early to mid spring, we need a jolt of cholesterol and some reminders that warmth and better food are just a few warm days away.
Then comes strawberry season. Hurrah! Dreary spring rains have actually contributed something useful to the world. . . strawberries! I have strawberries on cereal, in salads, in jams and dressings and Jello. . . they dress up my cakes and I put them over puddings and dip them in contraband chocolate. . . I order them in margaritas and drop them in champagne at weddings. They are everything that’s right with the world.
The 1st of July ushers in hot dog season. Traditionally the 4th of July kicks off this season, but for simplification purposes (and to get in a few exxtra foot-longs) I’ve moved it ahead a few days. I don’t ever miss out. Weinie roasts, pigs in blankets, family cookouts, and ball games. . . they’re everywhere. The older and more sophisticated among us often graduate to “brats” as they age. . . but the hot dog season and it’s devoted following survives.
Late summer is the time for fair food season. . . a mercifully brief, confusing, MardiGras-like period of excess and abandon. Fried elephant ears, pork chops on a stick, fried snickers bars, fried cheese curds, fallafal on a stick, corn dogs on a stick, fried ice cream on a stick. . . it’s a good thing this lasts only ten days. . . during State Fair week. Otherwise western civilization would be brought to its knees.
September is apple season in the north and even though I’m southern by geography these days, I still cling to the old ways. Cider, apple pies, caramel apples, apple kucken, fried apples, dunking for apples and then eating them. . . Apple season is a time of plenty and tart sweetness that reminds us regularity can be fun.
October is alternately known as chili season in the north and overgrown zucchini season in the south. . . which in my estimation is why the South lost the war between the states. Chili with it’s iron-and-protein-packed ground meat, fiber-rich beans, prostate-healthy tomatoes, and varying levels of heart-wise pepper and onions is nothing short of a superfood. Pair it with cornbread muffins and some sharp cheddar cheese. . . you have the stuff that could power an army, a nation, an economy. Albeit a rather odiferous one. Which gives us a whole new slant on the phrase “this economy stinks.” (Note to Mr. Obama: declare a shortened chili season. Everybody has to make sacrifices.)
November is turkey season, despite the fact that most of the turkey consumed is squeezed into the last week of the month. Turkey and it’s blessed leftovers, which are often bagged and frozen to be consumed during casserole season, casts its shadow over the entire month. The accompaniments of cranberries and stuffing and the ubiquitous mashed potatoes and everpresent pumpkin pie are overshadowed but not forgotten. It is truly a month of culinary indulgence and delight. Oh, and afternoon naps.
December 1st kicks off cookie season. Yes, I know there are ham and homemade rolls and egg nog and Chex Mix at parties. I know there are candy canes, cheese balls, hot spinach dip and chocolate fountains that populate the season. But cookies are the thing I most associate with the time around Christmas. Hey, it’s MY season and I get to name it. Snickerdoodles. Peanut Blossoms (with the Hershey kisses on top). Buttery cookie press cookies. Sugar cookies for decorating with lots of piping and sprinkles. White chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Thumbprint cookies. Date bars. Pinwheels. Lemon bars. Candy cane cookies. And those caramel thingies Susie gave us the recipe for some months back. Sigh. Better yet, we have parties where we swap cookies to get a greater variety and share our bounty with others. I mean, generosity and intense carbo-loading. . . it doesn’t get much better than that!
So that’s my private calendar. My own special seasons.
What about you? Do you have your own special mental calendar? What’s it based on?
Do you have foods that you love so much that you’d gladly name a season after them?