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The Foods of Fall

October 11, 2017
As seasons change, tastes change. The light fare of the summer months gives way to the rib-sticking comfort food of the fall. Vegetables come in and out of season – it’s time for pumpkins and squash. And vacation destinations often change, as well, as visitors flock to leaf-peeping areas or other places where the fall is colorful.

We’ve written before about chasing the fall colors, so today we’d like to focus on how your donors can use our non-profit fundraising auction travel packages to chase the fall tastes. Far beyond a trip to the local coffee shop for a pumpkin spice latte, these vacation ideas can bring your supporters to where the vibrancy of the season can be both seen and tasted.

When it comes to all things fall, the New England area tends to spring to mind directly. And at least two dishes that end up at meals across the world when the leaves change color have roots – some literally! – in the area. Pumpkin pie was technically invented in England, but their version is in no way similar to what we see on dessert tables at Thanksgiving; the modern pie could be said to get its start in the very first American cookbook, written in 1796 by Amelia Simmons in Connecticut. And the most popular variety of butternut squash, one of the fall’s most versatile side dishes, was developed in Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.

Our northeast doesn’t have a monopoly on the season, however. We might think of “Here We Go a Wassailing” as a Christmas song, but did you know that “wassailing” has a second definition, tied to visiting orchards? In the West Country of England, cider is a major product, and ceremonies are performed there meant to give thanks for apple trees. Singing or not, the end product is fantastic apple cider, to be enjoyed either on its own or with a “spike” from an adult beverage.

The fall is also a great time to break out those comfort foods, and there are few foods more comfortable than Irish stew. The dish goes back to the pre-potato famine days, using leftovers and cheaper bits of meat to make a meal out of scraps. That tradition has continued around the globe, as the Irish diaspora has spread; no two recipes for Irish stew seem to be the same, as locals use whatever is on hand to fill out the bowl. But if it’s got root vegetables and lamb or beef, it probably originated on the Emerald Isle.