The best part about living in a region with four seasons is the food and the memories they evoke. Drinking peppermint chocolate when it’s freezing and snowing, drinking iced tea or lemonade in the bleeding sweltering heat of summer, and the smell of apples and cinnamon of fall brings all these warm fuzzy feelings. Maybe it’s also because I grew up in New England that I associate food with seasons.
When I read “The Girl Who Chased the Moon” earlier this year, there was this scene where one of the bakers opened the window while she’s baking, hoping that the smell would bring back the one person she lost, hoping they’d find their way back to her. It was such a beautiful idea that I started to do that. Every time I baked, I would open the window or balcony door, the smell drifting out hoping that maybe the man I dreamt of for so long could come my way. He would smell the food I cooked (mind you, they were good food…okay, once in while, I’ll admit I burnt some stuff) and come to me. I used to joke that “he’s just lost his direction. He’ll find his way soon.” I just needed to give him a little help. I would throw a dash of cinnamon on the sweets I baked, knowing that cinnamon is considered the spice of love, and also, I would throw all my love into the food I made. I find love makes food taste better, if not sweeter and richer.
So now that fall is here (even if for a short time), every time I order a hot drink, I throw in a dash of cinnamon. Apple cider with soaking cinnamon stick, hot chocolate with a dash of cinnamon, chai tea or pumpkin spice with cinnamon. It taste bitter when you have too much. But it’s too sweet without it. With the right amount, it gives a nice aromatic smell, tempering it so that it’s a balance of sweet and bitter, just like love can be.