The story of Proserpina, her mother Ceres, and the god Pluto is my favorite myth. Many of you know it. Proserpina (Persephone in Greek), while frolicking in the fields with other maidens, was snatched away to Hades (or by Hades, in Greek) by the god Pluto. Ceres (Demeter in Greek), goddess of agriculture, searched for her daughter desperately, walking off the job and leaving the crops to languish. Eventually, Jupiter brokered a deal: Proserpina would spend half the year with her mom, and half with her “husband” Pluto in the underworld. Ceres, to this day, happily attends to her divine duties from the spring to the fall, and, grieving her daughter’s absence, languishes in the fall and winter, causing the grass to wither and the leaves to fall. Thus we have the seasons of the year.
In Northeast Ohio, Proserpina rushed off in a hurry this year. We went from temperatures in the eighties to rainy days in the fifties and sixties right around the equinox on September 22 or so. Pluto wasted no time.
Even a week ago, I would not have thought of baking these pumpkin cookies, but all of a sudden they seem like just the right thing. My writing group met at my house last evening, huddling on my cold, wet porch, and I served these along with some hot cider and tea.
They are not literally pumpkin cookies; they are sugar cookies shaped and frosted like pumpkins. Aside from being a fall specialty, the recipe is sentimental. I inherited it from my mother-in-law, who received it from her mother. It is the only recipe I’m not allowed to share. I don’t know what would happen to me if I slipped and passed it along, but it would be bad. Maybe Pluto would carry me off to his gloomy domain. Don’t even ask me.
(I know, it’s Tuesday, and food posts are supposed to appear on Mondays. But on Monday I was baking the cookies.)
Are you ready for cold-weather comfort food? What favorite fall dishes or recipes are you looking forward to?