Comfort Food at Home…or at La Tour!
Strange to have already seen so much early snow, but then again, this is Vail, and the Rocky Mountains have never been predictable beyond the bounty of snow and sun we receive here every year. We never know when or how much, just that the snow will arrive and the sun will be here to light it in its crystalline beauty.
While the air has shifted definitively toward a winter cool, the sunlight lingers with its promise not to abandon us except for short intervals while the snow is making its entrances. Some years there has been snow on Halloween, and this year, we have already had our first few dustings. Indeed the mountain is blowing snow for the race courses, confident that the early wintery temperatures will sustain it.
As much as we are excited for the accumulation that means winter sports and activities in full swing, we also begin to hunker down, especially in this interval between the fall bloom of foliage and the winter white. The spindly branches of aspens and low brush, now naked and gray, are lined with late autumn light, and they seem to gather and cling to the last vestiges of warmth.
We begin to cook foods that will warm our bellies, warm our souls and bolster us for the winter ahead. Like those trees and bushes, we pine for the warmth that we must now provide for ourselves. Smoke begins to rise from chimneys, and the scent of wood burning fills the crisp air. Our kitchens begin to fill with the scents of autumnal comfort foods seasoned with warming spices like bittersweet nutmeg, intense and smoky cardamom, sweet cinnamon and piquant ginger.
We begin to bake hearty breads and slow cook savory soups and stews, delicious roasts and rib-sticking roots. All of these add up to exquisite comfort food, and as their aromas fill our homes, we exult in the delicious flavors of fall, anticipating their ultimate convocation on our Thanksgiving tables. Enjoy my very own recipe for butternut squash soup, included here, as you begin to cook up your own autumnal array of delicacies and plan your holiday meals.
And if you’d rather skip the work and head right on to the indulging and imbibing, you’re always welcome to come on into La Tour and have it served to you by candlelight. Either way, you’re bound to be satisfied with the abundance of a Vail autumn and the culinary gems of the season. Happy Fall, and we’ll see you soon!
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