Autumn – A love story

Sep 17, 2018 | Food and Culture

In a less than a week, the long lingering days of summer will yield to crisp cool air, falling leaves, and the autumn harvest. With this new season comes braises, stews, hearty soups, big roasts and so much more. For the first time in months, we will be able to use our ovens without the threat of heat exhaustion and dehydration. This long lost love for all things low and slow will be brought back into our lives like an old friend as though no time has passed at all.

…autumn is my favourite season.

I can say without a moments pause that autumn is my favourite season. I have memories of this time of year as a child. The house filled with the smell of vinegar and spices as my mother prepared mustard pickles, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, pickled beets and all sorts of relishes for the long winter ahead. There would be jars full of jams and jellies preserving the last bit of summer sun as a hopeful reminder during those long cold December and January days. A reminder that summer as far away as it may seem is just around the corner.

I…was presented with a bowl of green slop…

Some of my most fond food memories come from autumn. Like the first time, I tried split pea soup. It was served to me by this lovely French Canadian women who’s husband I was helping with yard work. I was called in for lunch and was presented with a bowl of green slop which looked very unappetizing. But I was hungry and didn’t want to be rude. I remember the first spoonful as though I were lifting it to my lips as I write this. It was hot, the peas were sweet, there was a bit of spice and it was all brought together by the salty ham. It was familiar yet exotic. Beautiful in its simplicity. This was the exact thing that a growing boy needed when working in the cold. And, it was exactly the thing that I had wanted, even though I didn’t know it.

Autumn is the smell of pumpkins being cooked from the inside out by candlelight.

For some people, autumn is a sad season. Saying goodbye to the summer sun, the beach, and the warmth. To me, it’s the happiest time of year. It is both a beginning and an end. The end of the growing cycle and the beginning of the rebirth. It is cool enough to wear sweaters but not so cold as to chill you to the bone. Autumn is the smell of pumpkins being cooked from the inside out by candlelight. It is the crunch of the first thin layer of ice that has formed on the puddles. It is the oranges, reds, yellows, and browns of the leaves as they show their true beauty right before they fall to the ground and feed the cycle once again.

I look forward to the deep rich flavours that can only come from long slow cooking. And to all that autumn has to offer. And I look forward to sharing it all with you.



  1. Valerie S Warmington

    Hearkening back to your early teen years, did you ever think that your life’s passion would have you romanticizing split pea soup? Moreover, did you foresee writing an essay daily?

    Chef Ben, thank you for starting my weedays anticipating your words then smiling as I enjoy every sentence.

  2. Chef Ben Kelly

    Back then I knew my life would revolve around food. I have to admit, I just thought I’d be cooking in restaurants. I never really expected to write, let alone write daily. And I definitely would not have expected to be waxing poetic about split pea soup.

    And thank you Valerie for your comments and continued support. I really appreciate you always like and sharing my posts. It means a lot to me.

  3. Brenda

    Your fondness and reflections back to your time growing up as a child makes me smile and warms my heart!

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