Seasonal Confusion

caramel popcorn with chocolate and peanuts

It’s still fall, right? Good, because the onslaught of cooler weather, the nor’easter that prematurely ripped the colored leaves off the trees, and the Christmas-themed jewelry and department store advertisements that started running on Halloween (yes, October 31st), were starting to confuse me. Like Spring, Fall in New England is woefully short, but this year, forces of both the meteorological and commercial kind seem to be speeding it along even more than is normal. Although Fall is my favorite season, this rush hasn’t bothered me too much in the past. Snapshots of snow and the holidays to come signaled that winter break was not so far away and that I’d be back in my kitchen at home shortly.

This year, though, my mind is in a better place. The pressure of academia hasn’t eclipsed my days, and I have been trying to rekindle old traditions and forge some new ones. I went on an apple orchard crawl, during which I visited eight orchards to make up for my absence in the past few years. I made a treat so cutesy for Halloween, you would think it was the work of someone else. And then I made this caramel corn. Although caramel popcorn can be eaten and gifted any time of the year, I see it as intrinsically autumnal. It reminds me of county fairs and Halloween. It’s indulgent and comforting, so it’s well suited for cooler weather, but it lacks the requisite spice and flavors that would give it winter holiday flair.

Continue reading