Eating My Way Through Autumn

By Regena Handy

For years I have complained that during the month of October, I commence to put on weight. It seems to hang onto me all winter. I tell people that I am just like a big old bear preparing to go into hibernation for the cold months.

But you know, everything just seems to taste better during the fall. Perhaps it’s finally the cooler temperatures, the lack of humidity associated with summer that simply adds flavoring to everything. And October being “festival month” (doesn’t it seem that way to you), wonderful food offerings are all over the place. Many of those festivals or events become branded by the specialty food item they serve.

Just this past Saturday needing to make a stop in the Rocky Mount area, we travelled to Roanoke via Route 40. We had forgotten that the Folklore Festival in Ferrum was underway and had made no plans to stopover. But had we done so the array of available foods would have been astounding, including black-pot chicken served up by Patrick Springs Ruritan Club.

A couple of weeks ago we ate meals of delicious ham with all the fixings made by the Woolwine Volunteer Fire Department and its Auxiliary. Plus we brought home a jar of apple butter that we will save for a cold winter day and eat with hot biscuits and butter.

Speaking of apples — oh, those wonderful, glorious fruits! Granny Smiths, Honey Crisps, Staymans, Galas, Arkansas Blacks, Red and Golden Delicious, Rome, Winesap, McIntosh, York, Fuji and so forth.  I like a hard, tangy apple which means too often I end up with a tummy ache due to my impatience. All these are turned into fried and baked apple pies, hot apple cider, cooked sliced apples with brown sugar and cinnamon, fresh apple sauce, and fresh apple cake. The list is endless.

By the way, another October event is the Apple Dumpling Festival held in Stuart where you can enjoy — yes, apple dumplings.

Here are just a few more examples of fall goodies. Brunswick stew is a big fundraising event for numerous organizations and a favorite at private gatherings. Pumpkin pies start showing up at church dinners, often pureed from a fresh home grown squash (though not at my house; I admit that mine comes in a can from the grocery store). In our kitchen fall weather often brings the aroma of homemade vegetable soup simmering on the stove.

A few brave souls still undertake the making of molasses or sorghum including a former school classmate. I don’t know a lot about this process (I just love the finished product), but I know it involves a lot of work. I recall my uncle making molasses by hooking a riding lawnmower up to the stirrer, circling around the pot.

I sound like I’m hungry detailing all these foods. Believe me, I’m not. I am still stuffed from the pancakes, sausage and gravy I consumed this morning at another county event — the Pancake Days in Meadows of Dan.




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