But to each their own. I don’t judge; I have my own fall food and drink obsessions, some way more embarrassing than an expensive, winter-vegetable-flavored latte. So here, in my humble opinion, are the best foods of fall. (And a few drinks, because…alcohol.)
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake mix
Okay, so I made one pumpkin concession. This pancake mix is the shizz. Trader Joe’s always rolls out a plethora of pumpkin-flavored treatsies this time of year, but this stuff is the only thing I bother buying. I make the 20 minute trip to downtown, fork over the $2 for parking and buy in bulk to make it last as much of the year as possible. We’re not a GF household but we actually prefer the taste of the GF version. Both versions are well spiced with a perfect amount of pumpkin flavoring. Pair with maple syrup and you have a breakfast good enough to be dessert! Two out of two picky toddlers in my household fully endorse this product.
I developed a healthy fear of caramel apples when I had braces in high school and then somehow made it another 15 years without eating one. I AM AN IDIOT. I’ve been hit with a serious craving and since apples are now in season-did you know apples are in season in the fall? I sure didn’t-I’m resolved to make some caramel apples myself. Dip it in peanuts or pistachios and it’s basically health food, yeah? Or if you’d rather drink your dessert, then try this little number:I’m pretty sure hot apple cider with caramel vodka is everything your brisk autumn nights have been missing. Just pop a couple pistachios afterwards and call it nutritious.
Charles Shaw Nouveau Red Table Wine
I discovered this seasonal wine when my twins were a few months old. I don’t know if I was suffering from PPD or just feeling the mental affects of 3 months without sleep, but this wine was my nightly glass (or three) of sanity once the babies were in bed. It’s part of Trader Joe’s illustrious “Two-buck Chuck” line, so it’s literally $2-$3, depending on where you are. I’m totally cool with the cheap wine. My palate isn’t sensitive enough to pick up notes of chocolate or cherry or whatever the hell wine is supposed to taste like; wine is either “good” or it’s “still in the back of my fridge two years later.” And this wine is good. And when that $3 bottle is all that stands between you and crying hysterically while wondering what the hospital’s return policy is on 3 month olds, you could swear on a stack of first edition, Gutenberg Bibles that it tastes like the happy tears of a unicorn. If this is not your situation, then I’m sure you’ll find that it’s just a good, drinkable, everyday wine that’s easy on the wallet. This is only available in Fall/Winter so get to your local Trader Joe’s before it’s gone.
Green Bean Casserole
This is a Thanksgiving and Christmas staple in my family, spoken of in hushed and reverent tones. Except for my California sister, who calls it “white trash casserole”. But does that stop her from going back for thirds? Nope. Should I disappear on Thanksgiving it’s because I’m in the laundry room, eating green bean casserole straight from the pan.
What I don’t understand is why I don’t make this all year around. I have never once made it outside of Thanksgiving or Christmas, and it’s literally my favorite. It’s not like you can’t get the ingredients whenever you want. Maybe it’s because as soon as November hits all the grocery stores have perfect little displays with all ingredients you need for it; lord knows the fried onions are never in the first 10 aisles I check otherwise. Or maybe the fall gods know that this dish is sacred, and only getting it twice a year makes it all the more delicious. Who knows, maybe if I made it in June it’d taste like cream of garbage. I don’t think I’ll risk it. I’ll just patiently salivate until November 23rd, because this is seriously one the very best foods of fall.
This is where it gets embarrassing. In theory, I hate them. Genetically, they are artificially colored, sugary crayons. Not to mention a mouthful of cavities waiting to happen. They go against everything I believe in. But I Can’t. Stop. Eating. Them. Neither can a lot of people apparently, since 35 million pounds of the addicting little bastards are produced each year. And! They sell them at other holidays too! Candy corn can be purchased at Valentine’s, Easter, and Fourth of July as well, in corresponding colors. But I just have a feeling that they’re another one of those sacred foods that probably only tastes good in the fall. So hard pass, Cupid Corn. I’m saving myself for your Halloween brethren.