Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Eating Omily: Cooler Weather Warming Up

The growing season is officially closing in NYC.  I picked up my last share of the year a week ago Monday.  That doesn't mean you have to retire to your grocery store, of course!  Apples, pears, potatoes, winter squash, and hearty greens will keeping showing up all Winter long, and grape and garlic season is actually just getting under way!  There's also delicious jams and preserves to enjoy, frozen specimens of the best this summer had to offer, baked goods, pretzels, maple syrup and sugar...mmmmm...

That may sound like quite an abundance, and it is, but if you've seen the Farmer's Market in full July flush, you know this is how it looks when things are winding down to a quieter time.  With a warm enough winter coat, you can linger cozy and content on the coldest of winter days, a cup of hot cider in one hand, and your trusty reusable bag in the other.

I've been experimenting with different winter squash recipes this week in preparation for a Dia De Los Muertos Party I'm hosting on the 28th, starting with two from Candice Kumai's latest cookbook, Cook Yourself Sexy.  Next week I'll be reviewing one of her delectable recipes, though probably not one having to do with winter squash!  I can already tell you her kabocha squash fries are fantastic, especially if you have a spouse to chop up that tough squash for you!

Today I picked up some beautiful Indian corn along with gourds and baby pumpkins to get our apartment into the Fall spirit, all for only $1 each!  So much more beautiful than candy corn, and better for your teeth, though, no, not as tasty.  Did you know that each kernel of corn on a cob is its own genetic entity, with slightly different genes than every other kernel?  They're like brothers and sisters, instead of like parts of a whole.  That's how Indian corn can have so many different colors on a single cob.  How cool is that?

So beautiful!

As the weather gets cooler, you may find yourself craving more hearty fare and comfort foods: more meat, more fat, heavier, gooier textures.  Within reason, this is a normal and healthy impulse.  Your body will be working harder to stay warm all Winter long, especially if you live in NYC where spending time outside each day is not optional!  Use common sense, but don't hesitate to shift your diet away from salads and toward warm, satisfying casseroles.  Winter is the time of year your ancestors ate more meat, a long long long time ago because it was easier to scavenge when the going got tougher each year, and not so long ago because fresh veggies just weren't available.  Buy as much of your meat and other animal products as you can from verifiably humane sources, like your Farmer's Market, or Whole Foods.  Do the verifying yourself by asking questions!  Support the farmers and ranchers who care and respect the creatures in their care, their customers, and the planet!

~em

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