Twenty-two degrees at 6:30 a.m. in Twisp, an hour before sunrise, with an expected high today of 47. A couple days of drizzle in the past few weeks and now these low temps have turned the Methow Valley’s deciduous riverbanks and ravines to apple red, pumpkin orange, and squash yellow. Bathed in the still-warm honey sunlight of autumn, these are the Methow’s glorious days. Snow in the high country brings the peaks of the Sawtooth and the Pasayten into sharp white relief against our desert blue skies, reminding us that winter is moving in for the next four months.
So we make ourselves cozy. We pull out our favorite sweaters, scarfs and heavy socks — mine are thick soft wool in every case. Build a fire, brew a strong steaming cup of Blue Star coffee, and pull out dog-eared cookbooks for a leisurely read in a good chair. That’s what I’m doing this morning.
I’m working my way through my mother Emma’s recipe cards, the beloved looping cursive script penned a generation ago, that outline the framework of dear and delicious childhood memories.
Mom spent a lot of time in the kitchen every day. But when autumn stepped toward winter, and the kitchen windows steamed between the frost outside and the stovetop simmerings within, she wore her apron from dark to well-past dark.
In the weeks that follow, I will share with you some of those memories, and the recipes that go with them.