I was fond of summer in my whole life, but lately I came to realise that my truly favourite season is autumn. I could say with a hint of self-irony that this comes with a certain age, but really, I have several reason to prove that autumn is the best season of the year.
First, those lights… Sunshines come from a different angle and they magically paint the complete garden to golden colour. Mornings are chilly that’s true, but morning mist nestles in the valley and seems embracing the Bakony mountains like a warm blanket and we can wear summer clothes during the day. We pick apples- or they fall on my head- and walnuts, I get some quinces from my friend Mária, and I indulge in the variety of ingredients at the market. In the evenings we are just staring amazed at the glimmering of the yellow-brown leaves as the sunset light comes through them and we say with a sigh: ..”It is so good to be here”
I would love to mix all of these colours, feelings, smells and tastes, and put them into a bottle to preserve it for those grey, dark and cold November days when this combination would be exactly the perfect healing for our souls.
I have this idea in mind while I start reading the cookbook “Let’s get ready for winter”, that I found in an antique bookshop. Recipes of the book are collected by Piroska Z. Tábori who wrote and published the book in June 1940, exactly one year before Hungary entered the II. World War. This thin little booklet of 100 yellowish pages brings you back to the time when it was already clear, or at least suspected, what direction the world is heading to and one could prepare for the unavoidable: life will become radically different. The book is like a return to the roots: according to the rhythm of nature it helps to load the kitchen pantry in order to preserve and store all the things that are the freshest and tastiest at that moment.
The author encourages, inspires and gives tips than she adds also: ‘we can declare two important truths:
- Invaluable, minor or insignificant thing in this world doesn’t exist, because the value of anything depends on how we make use of them.
- how rich we are even in difficult times’
I find this book so inspiring that I cannot put it aside, I read the chapter about cooking jams without sugar, than I learn about how to dry and preserve healing herbs properly and how to set up the perfect cellar.
I immediately realise that my kitchen pantry is longing for jams, pickles, and other treasures nicely organised on the shelves. Before the renovation our house had a summer kitchen with a pantry from where we could go down to the cellar or go up to the attic. Now the summer kitchen became my real and only one and finally I have a spacious pantry with direct access to the cellar which floor was made from old bricks by Áron and his friend. Áron cut the first shelves that I later painted with Swedish wax and we will hang an old horse carriage side part on the ceiling that I have recently refurbished. We still need more shelves and there are a lot of work to do but this fact doesn’t stop me from already taking the first steps toward my future full kitchen pantry.
First I choose a soup seasoning recipe, because the author suggests to make it in August, and I hope I am not too late in the middle of the Indian summer. I choose ‘young but tasteful” vegetables at the market: celery, carrot, parsley root, onion and garlic. After cooking and pureeing this creamy seasoning seems like if I filled sunshine into the jars.
Maybe, bottling autumn tastes, smells and colours is not a lost idea after all?
Soup seasoning (based on the recipe by Piroska Z. Tábori)
Quantities are randomly chosen by me, since they were not set in the original recipe. Feel free to change it according to your taste.
2 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
4 parlsey root (100 g)
4 carrots (400 g)
1 celery root (250 g)
500 ml water
Wash and peel vegetables and slice them as thinly as you can in order to reduce cooking time. Put vegetables into a pot with the water and cook until tender. Using a hand blender puree it and season with salt, then put it back cooking for a couple of minutes more. Fill the puree into tiny jars, close them and put them into a pot filled up with warm water. Bring it to boil and steam the jars for 40 minutes. Place them into a basket lined with blankets or thick towels and let them cool down. Use a spoonful of the seasoning for your winter soups, sauces and stews.