It’s official. Fall has arrived. Fully, completely. The next warm, sunny day will be looked upon as an anomaly, a beautiful welcome surprise in the midst of fall’s grand beginning. The real face of fall is showing herself outside and she’s cold and dull and the rain we come to expect has been coming down all day and night.
Living in Canada, we’re blessed to have four distinct seasons. So when summer slowly disappears, I’m ready for something different. Different colours and shades, weather, food and appreciations. The start of autumn has led me back into the memory banks from last year and previous years and all those wonderful things I love about the season. This season.
Luckily for me, the first day coincided with the end of the week. And Fridays this time of year may be my favourite of all. One that’s beginning, one abruptly ending. It starts when I grab a hot cup of coffee and look outside as the rain punctuates the soft, colourless morning and I tell my wife that I can’t wait for the day to end so I can come back home to her. To this.
I spend the entire day watching the hours fall off. My mind wanders to a later time, a better time. The fireplace is on, soup is simmering away on the stove as the aroma drifts throughout the house and the two of us are sitting in the chairs by the window with the rain tapping on the glass. Only this time, there’s nowhere to go. And no place I’d rather be.
We had a place we needed to be on Saturday afternoon, so this was the perfect weekend lunch to warm us up and nourish us until we eat later that night. We were heading off to see my friend Greg and his wife Amanda and spend some quality time with two amazing people and walk the streets that both Wendy and I have left imprints on many times before.
And the weekend was exactly how I expected it. A shot of warm sun and flickering light during the day and a cool wind with dark skies that I cradled in the early evening. It was exactly the kind of weekend that reminded me of my childhood.
Back then, like now, I tried to find a way to escape on weekends. We’d make the drive outside the city to a town where my grandparent’s lived, but not much more. It didn’t matter. It was exactly where I wanted to be. I had nothing on my timetable but a date with autumn and her offerings.
I awoke each morning to the chilly stale air that threaded its way into the old wooden room I stayed in with ratty, yet comfortable blankets. Each day I would lock horns with the piles of crimson leaves and forsake everything else for an afternoon alone, aside from my grandmother watching from her favourite chair on the deck. When I stopped for a breath, I could hear the hushed trees adorned with new colours and tales to tell.
I worshipped that back yard. And those fall weekends. I alternated between tree climbing, to pull down the purple and golden orange leaves, and jumping in the shadows of my past with warm breaks inside for a big bowl of soup. For lunch, for snacks. Each time I went outside, the simmering pot on the stove lured me back in. It comforted me, just as my grandmother did.
When the weekend was finally over, I was filled with so much more than food and soup and happiness. I was filled with the echoes of my grandmother’s affection and love and deep-seeded memories to guide me home and remember her by. And as we drove away, she always cried in that big front window until she sobbed. She would wave one last time and I would blow her a kiss.
When the curtain went up on fall, I was eagerly waiting to make a soup like this. On a weekend like this. When I leave again tomorrow I’ll tell my wife that I can’t wait for the day to end so I can come back home to her. To this. And we’ll enjoy this soup as I wish away the days and hope it was the weekend all over again.
From my kitchen to yours, happy eating.
Sweetcorn & Bacon Soup
- 6 slices smoked bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 3 fresh corn cobs, kernels removed
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 5 tbsp. heavy cream
- handful fresh parsley, garnish
- Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook for five minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
- Add oil to the pan and add the shallots. Cook for a few minutes until softened. Add potatoes, paprika and stock and bring a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, using a medium saute pan, add butter and corn and cook, stirring often. Continue to cook for 3-5 minutes or until nicely crisp.
- Take contents of saucepan and add to food processor. Pulse a couple of times, but leave some texture. Add back into the saucepan.
- Add corn and bacon into the saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes. Add heavy cream and lime juice and cook until heated through.