Most of my friends feel most like themselves in deepest, steamiest summertime. Fellow Torontonian Drake comes alive in the nighttime–as does my giant bunny, Sophie, who was busted in the middle of the night last night, jumping up and down in pure joy on the sofa, in the dark.
I, however, feel most entirely present in the Fall. It’s not that I enjoy getting up in the dark or beginning months of suffering through perpetually cold hands, although it’s not not these things either. It’s that Fall is about bundling up to the point of perfectly delicious coziness (as opposed to winter, which is about bundling up to ensure the survival of one’s whole self but especially one’s extremities. Winter means we all look like puffy, hooded, giant babies; on the other hand, we all still look incredibly gorgeous in autumn, just a little paler).
A hoodie and the corduroy jacket my husband bought me 12 years ago, the surprisingly breathable acrylic scarf from South Korea my good pal Vee gave me, thick socks and girly lumberjack boots, and hot tea when outside; a giant cozy sweater, more tea, low light, and a fat Victorian novel or any combination of British panel shows on the TV when inside–these are why I love Fall.
But also the blustering, sad leaf storms, and the winds that tie everyone’s hair into elaborate Gordian knots, and dogs in sweaters and little boots. The dying back of the earth and its branches is to me the most lovely time of year. Also, there are piles of leaves to jump into and kick into the disbelieving faces of my nearest and dearest.
But the food, the food, the food. Hot, carb-heavy, fatty, and often root veggie-based food is the soul of Fall comfort to me. In essence, peanut butter and squash are this season for me (I don’t believe I’ve ever had these things together. Ought I? Am I being too conservative in my flavour combinations?).
I’ll be honest: all food to me is comfort food. I love to eat. It’s one of my best things. But peanut butter food hits me in the belly and the lower brain stem with a hard one-two punch; peanut butter food makes me feel sleek and fat and satisfied in all the right ways. Below is my most favourite peanut butter food recipe; it sounds awful–even I can see that. But don’t you believe it; it’s addictively tasty.
Hayley & Ian’s Peanut Butter Pasta, The Garden of Vegan by Kramer and Barnard, p. 153. (I like to make sure there are a lot of leftovers, so I’m doubling the amounts found in the book.)
Part the First
Whole wheat pasta for four people (about 375 g), penne or rotini preferable for getting good sauce coating
1 bunch of broccoli, chopping into bite-sized florets
1 bunch of kale, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces and woody stems discards
1 19 oz can fava beans, drained and rinsed
-Cook pasta and kale in a large pot of boiling water. Add broccoli for the last 2 minutes of cooking to just blanch and soften it a little.
Part the Second
-While this is cooking, make the sauce. Combine the peanut butter and water, then add everything else once this is a smooth:
2/3 cup peanut butter (real pb, not that sugary slop. The ONLY ingredient in pb should be peanuts!!)
1/2 cup hot water
2 tbsp Braggs or tamari
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I use the vegan kind, natch)
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1 tsp agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
-Combine sauce and pasta and veggies and beans. Stir well. Eat. Thank me.
Please feel free to share your favourite peanut butter food recipes in the comments–we can all use more heavy comfort food.
To give this autumnal love-fest a little balance, I will tell you one thing I really DO NOT like about this, the year’s most beautiful season: It’s already too cold to cycle along the water in the mornings. It was 1 Celsius when I got up this morning. 1. That’s almost snow weather. If I had a snow suit, I would try doing a long morning cycle in it. But I don’t. And I would need some hardcore gloves and mittens too, given that even when it’s as high as 10 C, my feet are blocks of ice by the time I get home after a long ride.
But in the face of tea and carbs and scarves and yellow leaves everywhere…I’m not sure this is such a big loss. Or if it is, it’ll soon be spring again.