Illusion of Fall

It is entirely an illusion, I assure you, but it is starting to feel like fall in Alabama. Not only has college football begun again, but there is now pumpkin beer available in the stores!

[250/365] Pumpkin Beer is HereI am also sure I don’t need to tell you that the day after Labor Day, when I heard the Pumpkin Spice Latte was back at Starbucks, I hied myself over there with a quickness to demand myself one of the soy variety. And then afterward I looked up the calories and nearly died when I realized it has nearly double the amount in my regular soy latte, but let me not digress. The point is: fall! And fall’s attendant foods!

It’s typically much later than early September, though, when fall weather finally decides to make its appearance this far south. We can expect it to finally be truly cold by Halloween, usually, but not on Labor Day.

[248/365] ClichéExcept this year, apparently! I took the above photo from my office window as I was laboring away on Monday (my Tuesday-Thursday schedule means Monday and Wednesday are always prep-work days, whether campus is open or not). It was the unofficial last day of summer but it looked like the middle of winter — winter in Oregon! Being able to look out at the grey, drippy weather and the grove of evergreens put me in a great mood even though I was working on a holiday.

[249/365] TweedTuesday was even better: there weren’t any major storms but the weather was cool and grey enough that I got to wear this new tweed jacket AND a scarf AND boots. Banner day, I tell you what.

While I have enjoyed the summer sun and heat and sweat and salt, I am more than ready to leave it behind for some crisper fall weather. By the end of this week we’ll be back in the 80s with plenty of sun, but as long as the temperature doesn’t touch the 90s again this year I can deal. I SUPPOSE. Brief as it was, I have certainly enjoyed our fake fall. Now let’s hope the real one graces us with its presence soon. I’m ready for some squash soup and roasted sweet potatoes and pumpkin-based desserts and spiced beverages. Let’s get this thing going, shall we?


  1. I have vowed to have either a Pumpkin Latte OR a Pumpkin milkshake before this week is out. I suspect it will be the former.
    I tried to wear a scarf on Tuesday, when I went into campus, but it just felt *wrong*, like it was still winter or something. Anyway, maybe I was wearing the wrong shoes. Who knows? Maybe without boots I just don’t feel like I can rock the scarf. It has upset me a bit, as you can see. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow, although our temps are creeping back up into the 80s, but the nights are cooooool, so I’ve been doing some night reading on the back deck, which is lovely.
    Fall always makes me think of college and Winthrop and Halloween parties. It just makes me kind of melancholy in general, but kind of in a good way. Does that make sense? Miss you. Phone date soon.


      1. I just realized in my former comment I meant “like it was still SUMMER or something.” I can’t keep anything straight anymore. Also, I tried the shake first. It was…enjoyable, but way too sweet, & it seemed oxymoronic to be drinking an autumnal flavor in a cold treat. Anyhow, the pumpkin latte still awaits. Also, I have worn 2 scarves since then. It was the shoes. Heh.

  2. Hear hear! Fall can stay as long as it likes, at least as far as I’m concerned. I too have been enjoying the suddenly fall-like weather. I’m a tiny bit sad to hear that the heat is on its way back… 😦


  3. Tell me more about these pumpkin-based desserts, would you? We here in the deep, deep south view our pumpkins in a strictly savoury context (pumpkin and nutmeg soup, pumpkin lasagne, pumpkin and pinenut ravioli, roast pumpkin, pumpkin & spinach & macadamia nut salad, chargrilled pumpkin & eggplant & zucchini drizzled with sesame seed oil and interleaved with rocket, etc). The permutations are pretty endless, but noone I know (‘cept you) has ever spoken of such exotic things as pumpkin beer (!), a pumpkin soy latte, or pumpkin for dessert. My interest is well piqued.


  4. @Alexis, you’ve never had pumpkin pie!?!? Where in the South are you? I’m in MS now, & grew up in SC, & I’ve been eating pumpkin pie my whole life. Also, all those things you mentioned sound delicious. Now I’m hungry.


  5. Hiya Clarabella. I’ve never had pumpkin pie, ever, unless you count the Thai red curry vegetable pie (avec pumpkin chunks) that can be procured from my campus noshery.

    By … erm … “deep, deep south”, I was referring to Melbourne, Australia, which kicks arse as far as southerness goes, but clearly has gaps in its pumpkin cuisine repertoire. (Terribly deprived, I am.)


  6. I thought I was pretty much *the* beer aficionado. I have never heard of pumpkin beer. What, pray tell, is this new beverage?

    My pumpkins are cruising along just fine. To date, I have harvested 4 of them. I have purée from last year and a couple of frozen pumpkin pies that must be eaten. The 4 recent arrivals will go into fresh pie – perhaps to be complimented by beer of the same namesake!


    1. Oh, it’s just a fall seasonal here. A little spice like what you’d expect to find in a pumpkin pie. Usually kind of amber, or wheaty, depending on the maker. I love it. Jealous of your pumpkins and plans for pie!


  7. I just want to affirm to Alexis and Clarabella that I am both loving your conversation and VERY MUCH in favor of bringing the pumpkin pie to the southern hemisphere!

    A., I would love to just give you a link to a foolproof recipe, but I don’t know one. Two years ago C. made an awesome vegan one for Thanksgiving, which I successfully copied for Christmas, but last year when I tried it again I think I used the wrong recipe and it never got firm enough. I will have to continue my search/try again this fall.


    1. I think I had to bake ours for much longer than the recipe suggested, but our oven is wonky, so… But that might be the culprit. You could possibly bake it for even twice as long. I also recall that overnight in the fridge helped ours. Who knows. Baking is most definitely not my forte.


  8. I’m loving the discussion too. Food culture is fascinating, though I’m not sure if I even want to use the word “food”, one person’s food being another person’s compost accelerant. (I’m not sure if I want to use the word “culture” either, actually. Maybe that hideous Donna-Harawayism, “natureculture”, better captures the nexus of climate, migration history, microbial life, bird population, government subsidy, seed patenting legislation, taste preferences, etc, that makes us eat what we do.) Still, even if there are fascinating stories about why Australia swims in cane sugar where the US of America has high fructose corn syrup, gorges on roast lamb instead of pork barbeque, etc, it still beats me why we haven’t made the most of pumpkin-as-dessert-stuff.

    Do please let me know how your Thanksgiving/Christmas pumpkin pie experiments go. We’ll have pumpkins galore approx. February/March, thanks to this v. exciting collection of heirloom pumpkin seeds I’m sowing soon.


    1. I am bad at the posting of links in comments here, but another day when I’m feeling more ambitious, I’ll try to link the vegan pie Kate is referring to. (Kate, I don’t know what you did the last time, but I know we used the softest soft stuff the time we made it here, the tofu for smoothies & such. And soy milk. But I don’t remember much past that. I made it again the next year, & it was just the same.)
      Alexis, there are some super easy recipes to be found. It’s usually just a can of pumpkin (is that how it comes down there? Here, we have 15 or 16 oz. cans readily available) and maybe 2 eggs, condensed milk and vanilla, and you bake it in a pre-made pie crust. Of course, you can make all that from scratch. You can spice it up with cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. however you like. This is all just from memory, but that’s the extent of the recipe.
      I feel I have to share my favorite easiest recipe ever while we’re talking about this, which is: one can of pumpkin & one box of spice cake mix. Seriously, you can just mix the two together, put them in cupcake baking sheets & easy muffins. You can also spice those up however you like. Sometimes, when I make them, I sub applesauce or soy milk for the eggs, but that just helps moistness; it’s not necessary. Oh my, now I just want pumpkin everything.


      1. I just noticed you will actually have fresh pumpkin, so I imagine the amount is similar, but it will taste much better for being so fresh!

      2. Hey, thank you. I’m getting the theory. I’m quasi-vegan (i.e., vegan plus our chooks’ eggs and the odd unpremeditated encounter with milk chocolate) so the condensed milk doesn’t quite work, but I’m getting the general theory here. Silken tofu sounds like a goer, plus extra sugar to make up for the concentrated lactose in the condensed milk.

        As for just throwing pumpkin mush into cake mix: sold! I am officially attempting this experiment, on a Sunday afternoon that just so happens to be tomorrow, even if it means (as it does) that I’ll have to actually, like, buy a pumpkin.

  9. Oh, gawd. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I typically chug around four gallons of that stuff between September and December every year. Some Starbucks stores keep the syrup on hand into January. Drooool…..

    Alas, I don’t think I’ll be able to get my fix this season. The Dutch just don’t appreciate pumpkins and only have the faintest clue of the joys that can come from them.


      1. Oh, thank dog!

        The link was broken but I tracked down the recipe on the site. I should be able to find canned pumpkin but pie spice could be tough. Maybe I can get my sis to ship some over from Portland. Proost!

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