One of my favorite fall memories is of scents. Smells. Burning leaves. Burning hillsides. Hot soups and stews. Roasts and turkeys and hams and chickens.
But, this post isn't about burning hillsides. It's about the homey smells that came from my grandmother's and mother's kitchens. As soon as the fall vegetables hit the farm stores and grocery shelves, my grandmother was there, buying every root vegetable in sight. Our counter tops would be laden with potatoes and onions and yams, carrots and celery (alright, celery technically isn't a root vegetable, but it's a soup vegetable), turnips and parsnips and rutabagas. Yellow and green and patty pan squash. Fresh tomatoes for color. Chicken or turkey stock when we had it. Otherwise, just the vegetable stock that came from cooking.
When my grandmother passed, my mother took up the knife. And when my mother passed, it was my turn. I start with the same basic vegetables, but I differ in the seasonings. I know from garlic. I know from fresh herbs. Sage. Oregano. Dill. Rosemary. Thyme. No salt. Plenty of fresh pepper. Like a two-finger wide swath that goes from pot edge to pot edge to add a smoky flavor. Chicken stock from an early dinner that's been in the freezer for a few months. Shredded chicken to add substance, fresh cooked. Maybe some kidney beans. Definitely tomato paste and sauce. Maybe some spinach or kale or shredded cabbage. Maybe a handful of pasta.
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