Sun, Sand and Squash: A Southern Californian Autumn

Autumn is usually pretty easy to recognise in Britain. Strongly associated with childhood memories, I would define it as coinciding with the start of a new school year. From early September, everything begins to feel different. The days are noticeably shorter, and temperatures seem to suddenly drop (although the first frosts usually aren’t felt for another month or so). The leaves begin to change colour, kids play conkers and – bizarrely – the shops start to fill-up with things that only an insane person might want to buy in preparation for Christmas, still three months away. In respect of food, people are looking for comfort, and if they’re lucky find it in hearty soups, stews and casseroles. Under circumstances such as these, autumn is not a season that can be easily disguised, forgotten or ignored.

But in Southern California, it has almost been possible for me to let the transition from summer to fall pass me by. The most obvious reason for this has to be the weather, which has continued to be sunny and hot, characterised by a sky that is consistently blue, and which is so very different from that which I normally associate with September and October. Of course, the cues themselves – the often subtle associations that we draw on to define a season – are different, so although I feel the anticipation of both Halloween and Thanksgiving (including the various wonderful foods they suggest) they don’t yet, for me, characterize the fall. There is, however, one feature of the Los Angeles landscape that has served very well to remind me that it’s autumn. Everywhere I look, I see an endless variety of pumpkins and other autumnal squash – plainly and simply used to decorate doorsteps and porches, intricately carved into colourful Halloween props, and sliced, chopped or pureed to become the core ingredient for a number of both sweet and savoury dishes. They are found not only in food stores and farmers’ markets, but also in dedicated ‘pumpkin patches’ and from specialist party suppliers. This obvious autumnal love affair that Americans have with a vegetable to which I’ve never previously given much thought, has inspired me to find out exactly what it is they have to offer…

About Georgina

Originally from the South of England, I've also had homes in Australia (Canberra) and the US (Los Angeles). I've been based in the UK city of Sheffield for a couple of years now. My blog is about adventures with food - markets, ingredients, books, recipes, places I've eaten and other related experiences. It focuses on stories from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and nearby Derbyshire, as well as places farther afield.
This entry was posted in California, Seasonal, Vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sun, Sand and Squash: A Southern Californian Autumn

  1. Pingback: Weekend Brunch: The Tack Room Tavern at the Empire Polo Club | The Fresh Princess of Bel Air

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