Monday, March 21, 2011

Awaiting The Flavor Of Spring

The amount of things that I found to worry about before actually making the move to California was irrational.  Now that I have accomplished the move I can look back and say that most of my worries were silly, or have been proven unnecessary.  One of my big worries was the loss of Spring in New York.  I had this same worry about Fall, and though you only caught me at the end of it (if you have been reading the blog from the beginning that is) I can confidently say that I have not missed out by moving to California.  Spring is a different issue, it is by far my favorite season, the one that I look forward to the rest of the year, and the one that I daydream about when I am struggling through hard winters.  Can a California Spring really compare?

If you have never lived through a bad East Coast winter I don’t think you could understand the ridiculously giddy elation that comes with the first hints of Spring.  You act differently, you find yourself with ADD like symptoms.  This is when people skip class or call out from work, find themselves driving past their home exit just because the sky is blue and there is a good song on the radio.  I am getting a jittery feeling in my belly just trying to describe the feeling to you.  In short, it is incredible, or at least it was for me.  This is also a pretty good indication of just how much I hated winter.  Here lies my dilemma, was my love of Spring tied to my hatred of Winter or can I still experience Spring in the same manner here in mild California?

I will admit that the intensity of my emotions as Spring arrives is not at the height that it would hit in New York, but my emotions are also not swinging so wildly from one extreme to the other.  Sacramento’s winter never dragged me so far from my Spring bliss, so, though I find myself thrilled by the season, it is not the same overwhelming experience as I am used to.  I can’t say I am disappointed by this. 

There are a few foods that I associate strictly with Spring, and I look forward to them all year.  Artichokes and asparagus are at the very tippy top of that list, the first time I would see asparagus at the market in New York would be the first time I could breath properly.  Here it is a little different, my two favorite veggies snuck up on me, I was not even ready for them.  The official first day of Spring had not even arrived yet, and in New York forecasters are still droning on about yet more snow, and yet here in Sacramento there they are, the trumpeters of Spring.  I can now add Strawberries to my list as well, apparently here in Sacramento they are one of the first signs of the change to the season as well and I am happy to welcome them.

So, Happy Spring everyone, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  For my readers in New York, I know that the official (calendar) first day of Spring is a complete joke to you, but you and I both know how incredible it will be when it does actually get here.  Know that you earned every minute of it.  I will say that when Bon Iver came on the radio today and I had an incredible blue sky stretched out in front of me I had that urge to just keep on going.

Roasted Baby Artichokes

I leave this recipe pretty vague intentionally, you can do a lot of tweeking with this and have great results, so enjoy!

After following this very handy tutorial for trimming baby Artichokes from Saveur

Toss your baby chokes with some salt and olive oil and chopped garlic and roast in a 400 degree oven until tender (covering with foil part way through if they start getting too brown)

I recommend tossing in a few cloves of unpeeled garlic, the experience of breaking open a roasted garlic clove with your teeth is one that should not be missed, the creaminess and flavor of the garlic is incomparable.

Eat these as a side as we did, or toss them with some pasta, either way they are great!


  1. WOW! It's morning time and I want a bowl of those baby chokes right now!! Splendind job at reminissing about spring. I'll be skiing today so spring is still a distant memory for me. Enjoyed this blog lots, keep up the good work. Any by the way, you can make me a plate of that yummy food when i come for a visit.

  2. "This is when people skip class or call out from work, find themselves driving past their home exit just because the sky is blue and there is a good song on the radio." Beautiful and so true. I've felt this in both the cities I've lived in. If you get a chance before the heat arrives, miss your exit for an hour or so and drive to the Berkeley hills. I have never been to Ireland, but I imagine the Berkeley hills in spring are what it looks like. Enjoy the California strawberries. I miss them dearly.

  3. Hi Jessica,
    I wanted to see if you might be interested in joining Sacramento Connect, a network of blogs and community news in partnership with The Sacramento Bee. We have some great food blogs in Sacramento Connect and yours would be a good addition. Feel free to send me an email.



    Lisa Howard
    Sacramento Connect Community Manager
    The Sacramento Bee

  4. Loved your perfect description of "Spring Fever" in New York!! Looking forward to it this year especially after this crazy winter we've had. I guess mother nature doesn't want to acknowledge that spring started last Sunday because we're getting snow tomorrow!! Cyndy

  5. As a New Yorker the buzz-like feeling of Spring is always anticipatory. I write this as snow is falling from the sky! Great post.

  6. OMgosh! You're only 75 miles down the highway from me! How unique! Welcome to California Jessica! Although we don't have severely pronounced seasons in the Central Valley, we do have 4 distinct seasons. There's the wet, the in-between, the hot, and the other in-between!