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Old 10-11-2007, 03:04 PM   #1
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Seasonal Cooking?

Now that the weather is turning cooler, I see lots of people talk about soups and stews as the temperature drops. Then next year, when it warms up, there will be talk of breaking out the grills.

In the olden days, when our forefathers lived off the land, meat (wild game) would become harder to come by in the winter months, so they relied on their stores, and often cooked soups and strews as that would make any meat they had last longer, but even a meatless soup or stew was filling. But in todayís times, thatís no longer the case?

Whatís the general consensus on ďseasonalĒ food? Do you adhere to the soups and stews only in the fall & winter, grill in the spring & summer? If so, do you think it is that way because it has always been that way in your family, or could there be something deeper, even genetically encoded at work here?

Personally, I cook soups and stews year round, but Iíll have to admit, I cook them slightly more in the cooler months.

I also grill and smoke year round. Iíve grilled in ankle deep snow, and my grills never get put away. I may grill a little less if itís a harsh winter (definitely smoke a LOT less as it is to hard to maintain the cookerís temp), but I still grill a lot in the winter, so I canít call grilling seasonal.

What about you?

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Old 10-11-2007, 03:19 PM   #2
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I've thought about this very thing before too, Keltin. I definitely cook more foods that require long, slow cooking in the winter months. That's because I don't have heat or A/C in my kitchen. So I kinda like spending a few hours in a warm kitchen cooking and baking in the winter. And when summer months roll around, the idea of cooking/grilling outdoors is very appealing because it doesn't heat up the house. Perhaps that like is much blurrier for the lucky folks that have climate control in the entire house.

But too, I think when it's cold, we physically crave more substantial foods that take longer to digest and thus keep us warmer. Likewise, lighter foods that are more easily digested are more appealing in the summer.

But, that said, I'd stand in snow or rain or blazing heat for some grilled ribs or steaks or even veggies!!!
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:23 PM   #3
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Are you really "down south in Alabama"? If so, you don't know what real winter is!

We sometimes grill during the winter, but I don't want to eat heavier food like most soups and practically all stews in the summer; I mostly have grilled or sauteed meats and lots of salads and sandwiches. I also try not to turn on the oven between Memorial Day and Labor Day - something I heard once and like the sound of (it's hot and humid enough in the summer here). I just use the grill, stovetop, microwave and toaster oven. So by the time fall rolls around, I'm hungry for meatloaf, lasagna, casseroles, etc.
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Are you really "down south in Alabama"? If so, you don't know what real winter is!

We sometimes grill during the winter, but I don't want to eat heavier food like most soups and practically all stews in the summer; I mostly have grilled or sauteed meats and lots of salads and sandwiches. I also try not to turn on the oven between Memorial Day and Labor Day - something I heard once and like the sound of (it's hot and humid enough in the summer here). I just use the grill, stovetop, microwave and toaster oven. So by the time fall rolls around, I'm hungry for meatloaf, lasagna, casseroles, etc.
Amen to that!

Very true! Down here, if we get a dusting of 1/4Ē of the white stuff, the whole town shuts down. People down here canít drive in the rain, so snow and ice is nothing but chaos!

Weíve had only three or four real build ups of snow in the last 10 or so years, the worst of that was only 5Ē in spots (several years ago). Snow accumulation is rather rare here.
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:58 PM   #5
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Most of the great chefs cook according to the season to take advantage of of the foods that are at their peak of freshness I think fall is a good one as alot of stuff is perfect having just been harvested like squash and so forth.They go very much by what is in season at the farmers market the fish market etc.
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:01 PM   #6
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Very true! Down here, if we get a dusting of 1/4Ē of the white stuff, the whole town shuts down.
No ice trucks. You forgot to mention how everyone panics and runs to the grocery for milk and bread.
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:08 PM   #7
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No ice trucks. You forgot to mention how everyone panics and runs to the grocery for milk and bread.
Oh yeah, the magical talisman of milk and bread! It seems everyone down here thinks having milk and bread is akin to have a certified emergency field tech in the house!

Storm coming????? Better get some milk and bread!
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:11 PM   #8
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I'm a "planner" person, so I have my menus planned most of the time at least two months in advance. When I do my planning, I pay close attention to the seasons. However, a large factor in my planning is that I have to consider the fact that our house isn't air-conditioned. As a result, hot weather cooking for us usually consists of lighter fare and/or stovetop meals, outdoor grilling, etc.

Having said that, I still plan meals in the wintertime that require the use of our outdoor grill. Just because the seasons change, I still crave a delicious broiled steak or beer butt chicken.

About this time of the year, I'm ready to prepare dishes that are a bit heartier and more filling and I don't mind heating my kitchen up a bit. My menus now include soups, stews and more roasted dishes.
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:14 PM   #9
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No ice trucks. You forgot to mention how everyone panics and runs to the grocery for milk and bread.
Hey, no fair. Everybody knows you can't weather a storm without milk and bread!
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:16 PM   #10
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Hey, no fair. Everybody knows you can't weather a storm without milk and bread!
Yeah, but does the milk and bread talisman work up north????
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:18 PM   #11
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Yeah, but does the milk and bread talisman work up north????
I dunno for sure, keltin, but when I lived in MA, I trudged down to the store in my snow boots for milk and bread every time. (I had to walk because in the 3 years I lived there, I never learned to drive safely on ice!)
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:23 PM   #12
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Where I live the seasons are fire, flood, drought, and earthquake. I'm never sure when I should switch from short sleeve shirts to long sleeve shirts, let alone from barbeque to soup.
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:51 PM   #13
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A lot of the traditional cold weather dishes take longer to cook. As a result they would generate a lot of heat in the kitchen in the days when A/C didn't exist. A warm kitchen is not appreciated in the summer but is appreciated in the winter.

These days, you don't feel like a hot heavy meal in the heat of summer.

Any hint of a storm in MA and the store shelves are bare. You'd think no one ever shops for staples unless there is a storm coming.
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:01 PM   #14
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I tend to eat lighter cold meals (more fish, raw greens, fruits, salads, etc.) and less fried foods in the summer (BBQ not counted since that and grilling are done outdoors) and heavier things like chili, stew, post roasts, etc. in the cooler months.
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:37 PM   #15
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Ok, Iím slowly getting confused, and if this is off-topic, we can make a new thread.

But what exactly is heavy food and light food.

I was always under the impression that a heavy food was something that was very starchy and high in protein. These take longer to break down and you feel full longer.

Light foods are high in fiber (indigestible matter) and less fibrous proteins like fish or chicken breast (low fat content).

Heavy in a stew I see since there is a lot of starch (potatoes and often over rice) and protein (beef, veal, etc). Soups Iím not really seeing them as heavy as they are mostly liquid, some fiber, maybe protein, and simple carbs.

Conversely, on grill night, you have a 10 oz T-Bone (protein) with a huge baked potato (starch/carbs) and a salad (fiber). Isnít that heavy?

What exactly does heavy and light mean?
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:58 PM   #16
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Always thought heavy foods stick to your ribs because they have more fats.

Now a cuppa hot cocoa or hot cider or soup are few things that come to my mind when I think about defrosting from cold weather!
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:01 PM   #17
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In my mind heavy food is food that take longer to digest like meats,potatoes,pasta,heavy sauces light food is highly digestable like salads,fish fruit non starchy vegetables.I think maybe in colder climates heavy foods are necessary because the extra calories are needed to keep warm especially if you are outside alot like the fisherman who are out on the north sea or lumber jacks etc. Another thought is years ago you just could not get fresh vegetables fruits etc in the winter a lemon or banana was exotic fruit so you ate what you could preserve where you live.Once canned and then frozen food became accessible it became easier to get the more seasonal foods excluding the people that canned their own fruits and vegetables.But yet you would never have experinced in the beginning pineapple or mandarine oranges and so on.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:32 PM   #18
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When you were a kid, keltin, did your Mom used to have to tell you not to pick at scabs all the time?

Yeah - a 10-oz T-Bone is light ... give me a 16-oz bone-in ribeye, 16-oz baked Idaho with bacon bits, real butter, salt, pepper, sour cream and chives or green onions. Maybe top my ribeye with some onions and mushrooms sauteed in real butter and a splash of red wine, and a green salad with bacon bits, grated cheddar, diced egg, tomatoes, herbed croutons, and bleu cheese dressing.

In the summer I tend to eat more light meals than heavy meals ... and in the winter I tend to eat more heavy slow-cooked meals than light meals. But that doesn't mean I don't eat a heavy meal in the summer - or a light meal in the winter. Heck - I couldn't last a month without a couple of "Dad's killer chili-dogs"!
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
When you were a kid, keltin, did your Mom used to have to tell you not to pick at scabs all the time?
Sure....didn't work though!

Quote:
Yeah - a 10-oz T-Bone is light ... give me a 16-oz bone-in ribeye, 16-oz baked Idaho with bacon bits, real butter, salt, pepper, sour cream and chives or green onions. Maybe top my ribeye with some onions and mushrooms sauteed in real butter and a splash of red wine, and a green salad with bacon bits, grated cheddar, diced egg, tomatoes, herbed croutons, and bleu cheese dressing.
Holy crap, are you serious. Yes sir, now that is a serious heavy meal.....by weight alone!

So, am I right about what everyone calls heavy (high carbs, proteins and fats)? Naturally, light is less than that.


And do you really eat a 16 oz steak?
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:41 PM   #20
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I'll speak as someone from the frozen north and tell you that y'all are wimps if you can't drive on a snowpack of 8 inches in the winter. LOL.

Keltin, to answer the seasonal thing, I don't make stuff like chili in the summer because it heats us up from the inside out. LOL. We cook to keep the house cool in summer and to warm it up in the winter. I still BBQ occasionally in the winter, but I really really hate trying to find the BBQ when the snow is deep. Its more a matter of convenience than anything else. If I'm craving a steak then I might make the effort to excavate the BBQ, otherwise, its oven and stove for me.

As to what is heavy and what is light, well salad is light, and pasta bolognese is heavy. Light is something quickly digested and heavy is something that leaves you feeling full for a long time. I don't believe everyone has the exact same description of that, but I think most of us adhere to that definition or something close to it.
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