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Making the Case for Fall

People often tell me their favorite season is summer.

I don’t believe them. I believe 72.5% of them have fallen into a trap caused by the American school system. The tendency to have summer breaks in school propagates the myth the summer is the greatest season.

It isn’t.

Sure, there are some nice things about summer. If you are privileged enough to live in a state with an ice cream truck, that’s pretty neat (ice cream trucks are illegal in Iowa, something that was completely devastating to me as a child when I moved here from Pennsylvania.) I guess that whole not having homework and getting to go on vacations with your family thing is great. And sometimes jumping into a cold pool can be refreshing.

But really, summer is just the reason the person next to you smells like body odor. Summer is the reason you held lemonade stands as a kid only to be bitterly disappointed to have to split $10.00 between your four closest friends. Summer is the reason your thighs stick to hot leather seats, the reason you can’t walk barefoot on the pavement, the reason you have to jump into that pool because it is so hot out you feel like your skin is going to burn off.

My method of transportation in the summer... damn leather seats

When it is -10 degrees out, I don’t have friends telling me to suck it up and come outdoors to hang out, yet in the summer when it is 100 degrees people think this is acceptable. I would go as far as to say that is a major plus for winter. People respect it. They don’t mess with going out unnecessarily when it is dangerously cold.

But fall… none of that happens in fall. Fall brings football games and tailgating. Is there anything better than waking up and eating hashbrown casserole and breakfast burritos? And jeans! How I miss those my dark wash jeans during the summer. Normal shoes instead of flip flops, sweatshirts, sweaters. Who doesn’t look good in a  sweater?

Fall brings Halloween and warm food and everything cozy right before the weather becomes unbearable. I look forward to fall every year.

This fall, I can’t wait to make as many baked pastas and warm dishes as possible. And I can’t wait to walk to class in boots, a sweater, and jeans. To go out of my way to step on a slightly crunchy leaf. To sleep in my un-air conditioned room with blankets on me instead of just a sheet. To see all my friends over Thanksgiving break and, for a week, fall back into things like we are still in high school.

The Curse of the Picky Eater

I grew up in a wonderful, loving household. My parents always made sure that I had everything I needed but not everything I always wanted. They taught me not to interrupt, to answer my phone calls by saying “This is she,” and to cut my food properly. When I visited my friends’ houses, their parents always lauded me for my impeccable manners. My friends thought I was silly for asking “May I use your bathroom?” or for asking for a glass of water, even though I’d been over their house hundreds of times.

So, if my mom and/or dad are reading this: I loved my childhood! A+ parenting.

Showin' my dad (and the Mets) some love

I just have one complaint.

I am a picky eater.

My meals were all very basic– mashed/au gratin potatoes, green beans/carrots/cauliflower, with pot roast, roast beef, or various forms of chicken. My mom made roasted chicken, lemon chicken, fried chicken, parmesan chicken but DEFINITELY NOT chicken parmesan or grilled chicken.

Of course, these were all always perfectly cooked and seasoned. When I didn’t like what my mom made, I was never forced to eat it. My mom grew up with nine siblings– when she didn’t like a meal, my grandmother told her to eat a peanut butter sandwich. Pleasing eight out of nine is quite the accomplishment, after all. My mom gave me the same instructions: if I didn’t like it, I didn’t eat it.

My dad expanded the repertoire by adding tacos, chicken parmesan, spaghetti and grilled chicken or steak. When we made hamburgers he was willing to add garlic salt or worcestershire to the burgers. My mom’s were left plain.

I was never introduced to a huge variety of flavors as a kid. And as I’ve gotten older that has stuck with me.

Now that I’m almost twenty, I’m working on expanding my tastes. I’m adding spinach to my salads at school. Of course, I still have to drench it in ranch or a thousand island dressing. But the point is that the spinach is in there.

I’m currently dating someone who will eat just about anything. He also doesn’t understand how I’m not the same way. Trying to split a footlong sub at Subway causes problems for us. He wants to add all the toppings possible. I’m perfectly content with just adding lettuce, and maybe some onions if I’m feeling adventurous.

So my goal for the next few months is to try more and more things. After all, until someone forced me to eat them, I was convinced I didn’t like cheesecake, buffalo sauce, crab rangoon, and sushi (well, I’m still on the fence about that one). Who knows what other foods are out there, waiting to be my new favorite?

Here are a few recipes from some great blogs that I want to try once I am visiting home and have a kitchen to use:

1. Buffalo Fries from Life Tastes Like Food

2. Chicken Tikka Masala from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

3. Brown Rice, Steak and Feta Bowl from Bitchin’ Camero

I’ll be sure to get back to you with the results 🙂