Story last updated at 9/26/2012 - 2:38 pm
As I walked the trails at the Treadwell Historic Park in Juneau, I couldn't help but notice the bright golden leaves that were scattered across the paths, accompanied by a crisp air. Fall has arrived.
After a largely lackluster summer, I believe it's time to drum up some enthusiasm for a season that's supposed to be cold (and hope for a little less soggy summer next round).
Each fall I get a bit sentimental and start missing things from back home. I lived in farm country. Corn on the cob - slathered in butter and dashed with salt - is still a staple for dinner for a little longer. Pumpkins are plumping en masse and I'm sure my dad is already eyeballing the biggest ones he can find at the store.
The biggest thing I miss about this time of year is my annual trip to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. I'd go every year with my dad. The spinach pie is amazing. Between the two of us, we'd eat an entire pie (hey, this is the only time we can get it). Apparently they now sell whole pies frozen - guess what I get to eat at Christmas this year? I've tried to find a recipe similar to what they serve, but end up finding a lot of spinach quiches instead. So not even close.
The festival doesn't change much from year to year - the entertainers are usually the same and their acts don't change much either. But it was always still a blast and something both my dad and I enjoyed.
This time of year also makes me a bit nostalgic for hayrides. I can't really muster much of a reason why. It's something I didn't do every year back in Minnesota. For those not in the know - hayrides involve taking baled hay, lining them up on a big, flat trailer (picture hay bale benches), and usually a crusty old tractor pulling it along. Sometimes they go through towns, others go through scenic country drives. Hayrides are usually followed up with hot apple cider.
Most of the trees where I lived were leafy, so when nature cooperated the fall colors really added to it all.
So, to get in the spirit of autumn, I'll share a recipe for one of my favorite fall cookies. It's adapted from several different recipes I found online.
Big, soft molasses cookies
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cut butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and nutmeg.
In a separate, large bowl cream the butter and cup of sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg; add molasses and orange juice. Gradually mix in dry ingredients.
Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and roll in white sugar. Place on cookie sheet and flatten lightly.
Bake 8-10 minutes.
Sarah Day is the editor of Capital City Weekly. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org