Fall Contentment and Cookery

As the leaves begin to turn and the air takes on a bittersweet tinge of coolness I find myself called to comfort, hygge, reflection, and gratitude. Instead of rushing towards whatever comes next or pursuing or manifesting, or doing any of the things that are future based, this time of year brings me uniquely to where I am now. A Nancy Myers, Norah Ephron, dreamscape comes to mind. I am not interested in pursuing something else. Focused on contentment – I appreciate all I have and my gratitude to be here in this moment.

I recently read “The Monkey’s Paw,” a haunting short story by W.W. Wells. A friend mentioned it in conversation as required high school reading – not in my high school! So I promptly requested the book from the library. The book found its way into my hands just in time for the haunting pre-Halloween season. I read the short story with relish and it’s message rings true – to be grateful and happy for all we have rather than pushing for even more. 

To be clear, this is NOT an excuse to stay in a crummy job or unhealthy relationship. I am only suggesting that sometimes we forget the greatness of the moment by always looking to the future. My in-laws recently delivered an abundance of late season tomatoes to my doorstep. When I say abundance, think bankers box full of romas! I spent an entire day in the kitchen, roasting tomatoes and drying herbs, baking zucchini bread and generally preparing for the months ahead. 

In fall I love to bake and cook. I made tomato soup from scratch, Swedish meatballs, and merengues. When one recipe calls for an egg yolk, it is only appropriate to use the other half of the egg for cookies. I wear my great grandmother’s apron and invite my children into the kitchen to help. We listen to music and dance in the kitchen. The taste of a good batch of soup, the gratitude I feel that my partner does the dishes while I wipe down the counters is magic. 

This ritual is as healing as it is healthful. I get to be cozy in my kitchen, preparing meals that nourish and satisfy our family’s needs. The easier the better! When the meal is complete and we only need heat it up I feel as if I have given a true gift to my future self. 

Therefore as we welcome the new season and begin the process of creating hygge in our homes, hunkering down for the long winter months. I am celebrating the harvest and delighting in the abundance of our garden. Filling our freezer with delicious homemade meals that will make us feel rich, happy, and well fed. I prepare recipes that remind me of my own childhood. Those traditions ground me. This season will bring everything I need and more. I am not looking for anything additional – I am simply savoring all that I have. I do not need any wishes or a magical talisman, I have everything I need right here. And if you were to look around, I suspect you do too!