It was a 87 perfect degrees in New York City today and I spied an actual pumpkin at the farmers market. I love this time of year, when you expect it to feel like fall but it decidedly does not; it’s like Bonus Summer: cool enough to bust out cardigans at night but warm enough it feels too soon to audition any of the heavier dishes to come this winter. I’ve been gushing over what Sam Sifton called “valedictory meals” in The New York Times Sunday Magazine — “fall dinners pretending to be summer ones” — and I imagine that wedges of focaccia baked with a grape you can only find this time of year, a roasted tomato salad, many formats of cheese and a lush glass of pink wine would nicely fit the bill.
So here’s one way to be just a little more welcome at that backyard barbecue slash rooftop grill-out slash pot luck picnic you were heading to this weekend. Maybe you were going to bring your usual — that pie, some buns, a slaw, an addictive potato salad, right? Maybe even some lemonade? And oh, what friends you’ll make if you do. Everyone loves a good slaw, most especially this girl.
I could never get into kale. Heck, I’ve long been timid about greens in general — the delicate ones like baby spinach and arugula were easy but as soon as things got a little heavier, I got nervous. When I finally found a respectable green I found palatable — Swiss chard, which I think of as the green for spinach people — I went to town with it: a tart, a spaghetti dish and then gratin. But I still couldn’t warm to kale. Because I didn’t like the way it tasted. And I don’t care if something is chock-full of vitamin A, C and calcium, I don’t care if it makes you live longer or feel stronger or fixes the budget deficit, I’ve got this hang-up wherein I won’t eat food if it doesn’t taste good to me. (My offspring is a little less particular, it seems.) And kale just didn’t.