Many autumn tales are of harvest and feasting. Socializing includes talking about old and new ways to get through another winter. Other subjects are more like how to take summer romances to the next level and meet the family of the beloved. Or, the clean crisp air and sweet smell of burning leaves on the wind. Even wet leaves give off a fragrance signaling the change of seasons.
Halloween has its own legends and rituals, which vary by country. Halloween in America began as its more colorful incarnation in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until after World War II that the parties and trick or treating became the norm. Pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds and candy corn all became popular after the war.
Of course, there are those in business who want to make the holiday overly commercial. This can be repulsive, and made Halloween an unwanted event in France, Australia and many other countries.
In the past couple of decades, mischief and nastiness has crept into Halloween, so much so that parents have devised new ways for children to dress up and enjoy getting candy. One way is costume parties and another is having kids come to a central place (a church, park or school parking lot) and choosing from the trunk of cars decked out for the occasion instead of going door to door. Times have changed.
Ready Wild Rice
Cooked wild rice is good to have on hand for lot of fall recipes. Start with a large saucepan of boiling water and put in 1 cup of wild rice. Cook for about one hour until kernels have popped. Drain and cool in fridge and use within three days. One cup of dry wild rice equals 2 to 2-1/2 cups of cooked.
Wild Rice Fall Side Dish
3 cups cooked wild rice
1 sweet onion finely chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
½ stick butter
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
½ cup fresh chopped parsley
Sauté the onion and pecans in a small skillet with the butter, sprinkle with seasoned salt. Add the cooked wild rice and stir until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley.
1 quart fresh raw cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 apples, peeled and chopped
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons fine grated orange peel
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cook cranberries in water 10 minutes over medium heat. Add other ingredients except nuts, cook until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add nuts. When cool, put into sterilized pint-size jars, cover and refrigerate. Makes three pints.
This is a classic pumpkin bread recipe made keeping the dry ingredients separate from the wet.
½ cup oil (corn or vegetable) plus 1/3 cup water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1-1/4 cup white flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup raisins, regular dark or golden blond
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
½ teaspoon each: allspice, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg
Mix the sugar, oil, pumpkin, eggs and water. Mix dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture, stir to blend. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Cool thoroughly before slicing. Serving suggestion: cold with cream cheese.
Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: “New Native American Cooking,” “Native New England Cooking” and “A Dreamcatcher Book.” She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.