When I was still teaching high school I had a class of students ask me if I liked pumpkin-flavored foods. I replied, “Yes, but only if it’s Fall,” and the entire class started giggling. “What?!” I asked, “Do you guys eat pumpkin stuff all year?!” and I was shocked when most of them nodded. The idea of eating or drinking things outside of their “season” was completely foreign to me.
I’ve always held myself to a rigid Food Timeline, I just never realized that’s what I was doing.
With the Timeline I get to enjoy seasonal highlights, like fresh-squeezed lemonade on a sticky July afternoon, while simultaneously looking ahead (Next week is September 1st, better stock up on pumpkin puree!).
I taught Foods & Nutrition for 8 years and I was accustomed to students’ natural curiosity about outlandish dishes, but I had never experienced students being so curious about my own tastes and preferences. So I let them keep asking me questions, and I asked some in return.
For the next 10 minutes of class we narrowed down my Timeline and made lists on the board to keep track.
As the lists grew, more of them started to agree with me that yes, some things taste better during *insert season*, but I also started understanding their conviction that if fresh-squeezed lemonade is available on a blustery winter day it is perfectly alright to enjoy it.
At the end of the day I reflected on those 10 minutes and realized it had been one of those “I hope they learned as much from me as I learned from them” moments.
This was not the first time I realized that I associate food with personal feelings and memories, but the charts on the board provided the most linear and concrete example of my relationship to those foods.
Without further ado, here is my Food Timeline. I still follow it pretty strictly, but am making an effort to branch out.
Spring: Strawberries, Blueberry Muffins, Blackberry Pie, basically just lots of berries.
Summer: Lemonade, Watermelon, Pineapple, Corn on the Cob, Popsicles, Sherbet, Steak Kabobs, Dips- all of the dips, and most of the Chips.
Fall: Pumpkin-flavored everything. Soups- Chicken Noodle, Broccoli Cheddar, Butternut Squash, Cream of Potato, Corn Chowder. Apples, Apple Pie, Apple Crisp, Apple Butter, you get it. Big fan of Fall because my birthday is in Fall!
Winter: Hot Chocolate. Real Turkey. Real Mashed Potatoes with actual gravy. Cookies- Chocolate Chip is my favorite but any cookie will do. Yeast Rolls. Peppermint-flavored desserts. Mulled Cider or Wassail.
What’s on your Food Timeline?