Saturday, September 6, 2008


“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
J. R. R. Tolkien

For anyone with an artistic bent and assiduous observational skills, inspiration can be found just about anywhere. For myself, if I have no pressing commitments, there is hardly a better place to spend an hour or two than in the farmer’s market. Approached with passion, cooking can be an art that affords its creator a quite tasty, tempting freedom of expression while at the same time catering to the epicurean delight of others. And if one has the luxury of time and can approach a meal, a dinner party, or even just a new, more adventurous recipe as one would approach a painting, a poem or some other sort of creative endeavor, then the farmer’s market is a living, breathing palette of color, texture and taste.
I am never happier than when in my kitchen, with breezy open windows, good music playing, and dogs dozing on the floor while I fashion tantalizing concoctions like a benevolent enchantress with a wooden spoon for a wand and a floral apron for a star-laden robe. I have always felt that culinary spells and potions are best brewed at this time of the year, which is just another of the myriad of reasons I am so delighted that autumn is here. Fresh apple pies cooling by the window, the entire house redolent with the fragrance of one of James Beard’s best breads, plump chickens roasting with vegetables and wine, the aromatic mingling of flavors in a long simmering soup, all these are joys of the fall season. And the farmer’s market is the autumnal cook’s equivalent to the artist’s most fantastical supply store.
Take my advice, on a perfectly clear, perfectly cool upcoming day, point yourself towards your nearest and best market. Take your time, don’t rush, meander through. Enjoy the infinite variety of pleasures available to the senses. The prismatic aubergine hues of an eggplant, the craggy touch of a fresh brown coconut, the warm perfume of exotic coffee beans - a synthesis of inspiration for delicious tastes to create, and to savor.
And don’t even get me started on the fat orange pumpkins and the sunflowers!

Painting above: The Vegetable Stall by Thomas Heaphy

38 comments:

  1. I'm coming over to your house for my next 3,649 meals.

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  2. I'll be there too--hahaha!

    I love to cook as well and have found myself in the kitchen more this week. It could be because my daughter is back in school and I have a little more time. Or it could be the cooler temperatures. Whatever the reason, I'm having fun! Trudy looooves it when I make slow cooked meals. If I forget to give her a little taste, she makes a point of reminding me ;-)

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  3. How beautifully written, and sooo true. I feel the same way about cooking. You've made me hungry now :)

    Kim x

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  4. I quite agree.
    The green market at Union Suare in Ny is WONDERFUL.
    I only wish my husband was a more adventurous veggie eater.

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  5. Ooo I do love Autumn!


    I have a little something for you on my blog.
    In Appreciation,
    Melanie

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  6. Perhaps it is strange, but I only enjoy cookie when I am sharing the food with others. Now that I live alone—except for the cat who owns me—I no longer find delight in cooking for myself.

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  7. How wonderful that you have the talent to delight in it.

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  8. I'm always so ready for the seasonal foods about this time of year. I just picked up some marvelous vegetables for a farmer's market soup this weekend. Mmmm.

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  9. Would you like to come live with me and my Hubby? I just can't get back into cooking. I seem to have lost my inspiration in the kitchen but I would definitely take a big bowl of all those fresh veggies, a slice of cheese, some bread, and a glass of dark beer and be a very happy camper!

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  10. A beautiful farmers market right by my office every Wednesday...I usually pop over and pick up something...plenty of great Ontario produce at this time of year....makes cooking a joy to use fresh local ingredients...

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  11. Butternut squash soup and a hunk of fresh bread are wonderful on a fall day. I love the imagery of you yielding your wooden spoon like a magic wand.
    Oh, how your kitchen must be the spot your guests like best, including your dogs. Edward is one very lucky house guest.

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  12. Pamela,

    I have never been a great cook, or even a cook at all. However, after reading your post, you have inspired me to try.

    Tis the season for pumpkins, so maybe a nice pumpkin cheesecake would be a great start for me.

    Thank you so much for your kind words about my test results. That meant a lot to me.

    And you also, have a glorious weekend.

    Melissa

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  13. You find the best quotes!
    And I so agree! I can't wait for fall, and Soup Season!
    Pumpkins make me so happy!
    Becky

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  14. beautifully written.
    i Really like your blog, and i'm not just sayingthat so i get a comment back like i usually do, I really like it

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  15. I couldn't agree more! Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit. I enjoy yours as well...

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  16. This post is so delicious I am suddenly hungry! It is also validating - I love to cook and cooking is indeed a justifiable creative art!
    ~Kalianne

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  17. It is true that inspiration surrounds us and is there for the taking.
    Up here in the northeast it has a tendency to make us slow down a bit, to linger over coffee, to harvest all it's riches and to envelop us in it's beauty...And for just a little while to make us realize there is so much to be thankful for.
    xo Susan

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  18. Us Hobbits would thoroughly agree with Master Tolkien;)

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  19. You're absolutely right. I went yesterday, and the colors were just gorgeous. Eggplant beside purple peppers beside the reddest tomatoes I've ever seen beside a new-to-me carrot of three different colors. My eyes were happy, happy. I love the Tolkien quote.

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  20. Oh my goodness! Just followed your link form One Perfect Little Miracle and I'm so very glad I did - this is lovely! Edward is adorable and I can't wait to get to "know" you both better!
    Colleen

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  21. What a lovely, thoughtful blog! Thank you for popping by mine. I truly love to have new visitors!
    Your Edward is a beautiful dog. I can see why you are so enamoured of him!

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  22. Good evening. I wanted to stop and say thank you for stopping by my site and wishing me well. I appreciate your thoughts, encouragement and prayers during this time. It really means alot.

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  23. I can cook and (sometimes) love it but not EVERY DAY!
    I love making soup though and eating it.
    A lovely inspiring blog as ever.

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  24. A wonderful, inspiring post and as they so often are, perfectly timed for me. I am thrilled to have the very first big crop of apples from the trees we planted four years ago and right now I am having fun thinking of different ways to use them.

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  25. I adore that Tolkien qoute, and how true it is! Beautifuly written, I will come back to reread as I often find cooking a chore rather than a pleasure after a long day of work. Really though it should always be at least a bit of a treat shouldn't it?
    My hubby grilled last night and added apples to the mix and it was just heaven :) you two are thinking alike!

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  26. Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I have really enjoyed my visit here, what a wonderful post. I love the foods of Autumn and visits at any time to a food market are a real treat!
    Kimx

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  27. I agree for certain! I spent the better part of my day yesterday cooking, and I just love it...

    A farmers market is bliss. I adore the image you used & your words!!

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  28. Yes! I can't wait to head for the market and I'm particularly looking forward to taking my kids to the pumpkin patch for the first time this October.

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  29. So true--there's nothing like cooking on a cool fall day (a lot more fun than in the blistering heat!). I am actually starting to enjoy baking bread again!

    Love the Tolkein quote!

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  30. Oh...I so agree! Cooking and fall go hand and hand...

    Yippee for the Tolkien quite:-D...!

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  31. It is a shame that in the hustle and bustle of life we forget the enjoyment to be had in slow cooking. We should all take more time to smell the aromas, if not the roses.

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  32. As one of the fortunate ones who have had the happy blessing to partake of Pamela Terry's culinary sorcery...or is that saucery?... I say - "Happy is the moment when Pamela takes wooden spoon in hand!"

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  33. Good use of wording. You and Miss Maddie should write a book together, you both seem to have a unique vocabulary.

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  34. i agree that fall brings out a huge desire to cook and bake! very nice post, pamela!

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  35. I think my kids would be so happy if I could refashion myself in this heartwarming image. I think I would like me better too! Ahhh...to be in the kitchen with a pumpkin pie and a roasting chicken in the oven....Fall leaves filtering down outside the window. Heaven! Thanks for the burst of joy that just filled my soul!

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  36. Yes ..have to go and cook ,or brew* a potion* right now, cant wait..*
    Adore the painting!***

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  37. What a wonderful post, you create such a tapestry of colour with your words, thankyou.

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!