Pumpkin perfect!

A photograph of a pumpkin patch in kent

The Four Seasons

Most people know them as spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Not in our house. My daughter renamed them–Buttercups, roses, conkers, and Christmas. While it’s a bit sweeping, she is not wrong. I have been slightly disconcerted though, as she is five years old and still doesn’t know the months of the year. Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter. She’ll learn them. What’s more important is that she has learned to observe the physical world around her and knows the meaning of what she sees. The presence of autumn flowers such as chrysanthemums or seeds like conkers coincide with the return of cox apples and she knows that.

A photograph of a bowl of apples
Apples, apples, apples!

Food Glorious Food

I love cox apples. Each Sunday, I buy bags of them at the farmers’ market. Honestly, they’re the best apples, so crisp and tart. I keep bowls of them around the flat. In the kitchen, in the office, in the living room. You never know when or where you are going to want a bite. I am ashamed to say how many pies I’ve already made with them. My pie quota for the year? I probably hit it last week and not just because of all the perfect apples but because I also have a weakness for sweet potato pie with pecans and molasses. I describe the latter as the James Brown of pies, by which I mean it has soul. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s much better than pumpkin. Not that I have anything against pumpkins. I just prefer them for decorating is all.         

A photograph of a homemade apple pie
The ultimate winter warmer

The Great Pumpkin

Last weekend, we went to Pumpkin Moon in Maidstone, Kent. It was the most brilliant way to spend a Saturday. My husband, who insisted that the British don’t celebrate Halloween like the Americans and certainly wouldn’t have a pumpkin patch with all sorts of festivities like I grew up enjoying in the States, was pleasantly surprised. There were fields full of gourds of all shapes, colours, and sizes. There was face painting and storytelling and all kinds of crafts and the most enormous delicious hot dogs you’ve ever had in your life. Okay, maybe not in you life, but certainly at a fair in Kent. There was even a maize maze where my daughter ran around with a wand she’d made pretending to turn us into scarecrows amongst the rows of corn and autumn flowers.   

Photograph of Misti's husband and daughter dressing a pumpkin
Pumpkin mad

No Place Like Home

One of the things I love most about this time of year is the way everything looks all ablaze. Red ivy covers the houses on our street. The leaves on the chestnut trees have turned orange and are flecked with gold. Autumn flowers from Freddie are always my favourite. Just as the chill outside sets in, his weekly arrangements add instant warmth inside. After carving our first jackolantern, I placed it on a small table next to a bowl of apples. With a wave of my daughter’s ghostie wand, we transformed our flowers from Freddie into a Halloween display. Now evenings in could not be cosier.

Leaves changing colour on an ivy wall
Ivy wall

Champagne and Potato Chips

To quote Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, “Don’t worry. Everything’s fine. A married man, air-conditioning, champagne and potato chips. This is a wonderful party.” Indeed, this whole month has felt like one long party. For starters, it was my birthday. My husband gave me a beret and, as I love and take tap dance, he took me to see An American in Paris. The week after, I saw my friend, Charles Hagerty, a fellow American in London, give a star performance as Clifford Bradshaw in Cabaret alongside Louise Redknapp and Will Young. It really has been a month of celebrations and champagne and potato chips and pies and pumpkins and festive autumn flowers. I just can’t wait for the popping of corks to become the bursting of fireworks on Guy Fawkes Night. Can you?!  

A table with apples, a pumpkin and flowers
Halloween table


Photograph of Misti's daughter, Helena
The pumpkin fairy

Misti Traya fell in love with an Englishman and moved from Los Angeles to London in 2009.  After her daughter was born, she began a blog called Chagrinnamon Toast that won the writing category at the 2014 Young British Foodies. She was also named runner-up for the Shiva Naipaul Prize. She has written for Gawker, Jezebel, Look, Mslexia, The Pool, The Spectator, and Stella Magazine.

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