Our Wellesley Season & Bananas Foster

I lived near San Francisco for a couple of years and found the weather a bit disconcerting. As far as I could tell, there were no seasons. Every day was like a sunny day in May, not too hot and with no humidity to speak off. (My curly locks were remarkably well behaved.) My friend Julie is a California native. She insists that it takes a little time to adjust to her home State’s subtle seasonal changes. I admit I never gave it a chance. As soon as I could, I fled the west coast and headed home to New England. There is nothing subtle about New England’s seasons. (My curly locks agree and frequently misbehave).

We are now in what my mother used to call Our Wellesley Season. That’s what she called April and May when we were kids. It sounds a little fancy like we had one of those big rambling cottages in the country and an elegant mansion in the suburbs. In reality we had a little brown house in the New Hampshire woods and a nice but hardly Trump-like home in the suburbs of Boston.

Massachusetts was where we went to school and worked. New Hampshire was where we played. We spent as much time as we possibly could there. The end of the school year bell was still ringing when our station wagon hit the road and headed north to Pleasant Lake. When school started again in September we barely made it back for homeroom the first day. Throughout the fall and winter, all of our weekends and vacations were spent enjoying New Hampshire’s hills.

But here’s our guilty confession. As much as we all loved it, every spring we deserted the Granite State. Forget for better or worse. Fickle flatlanders, we kept our distance when April showers and melting snow turned the hills and fields into a muddy mess and the lake was cold and gray. It’s easy to love New Hampshire when it’s bright green, brilliant red and gold or sparkling white with snow. Even this year, when winter was remarkably short and mild, it’s clear why we stayed away. Spring is very slow in coming. Except for a few brave clumps of bright purple crocuses, everywhere you look, it’s a drab gray or brown.

That’s not to say that Boston’s suburbs were clear and sunny. April showers were commonplace but, unlike New Hampshire, April snowstorms were few and far between. I remember more than a few boring, rainy Saturday afternoons. However, there was a movie theatre in town, the television got more than one fuzzy station and the ice cream parlor was open year-round. Suburban roads were paved and our driveway was not lost in a sea of mud. Long before the snow banks melted in front of our little brown house in the woods, our garden in Wellesley was filled with cheery daffodils and tulips. Furthermore, marauding deer did not plow through those blooms like a pack of starving tourists at an all-you-can-eat Atlantic City buffet.

Now that I live in New Hampshire year-round, I have no Wellesley to escape to during Wellesley Season. (I did spend a few hours in Manchester yesterday but I don’t think that counts.) Truth be told, I don’t miss suburbia. However, a trip to the big city (any big city will do but preferably someplace warm) or a tropical island might be nice right about now!

Bon appétit!

Bananas Foster

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If someplace warm isn’t in your travel plans this spring, a traditional New Orleans dessert will cheer you up after one too many gray days. Enjoy!
Serves 4
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4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, peeled and cut on the diagonal in 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup dark rum
Vanilla ice cream
Chopped pecans, toasted

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add the bananas and cook for 2-3 minutes, carefully spooning the sauce over the bananas.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the rum. Ignite the rum, return the pan to the heat and continue cooking, swirling the sauce, until flame dies out and the sauce is syrupy, 1-3 minutes.

To serve: scoop vanilla cream into individual dessert bowls. Gently spoon the warm bananas and sauce over and around the ice cream, garnish with toasted pecans and serve immediately.

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One Year Ago – Tapenade
Two Year Ago – Lavender Infused White Chocolate Crème
Three Years Ago – Lemon Tart
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What do you do in early spring? Flee south or grin (or not) and bear it? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive a new story and recipe every week.

Want more? Click here for lots more to read, see & cook! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2012

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4 thoughts on “Our Wellesley Season & Bananas Foster

  1. It amazes me how many people manage to perpetuate the myth that California has no seasons. First of all, there are many different climates in California, mountain, desert, coastal and valley climates. In the San Francisco Bay Area where I was born we have fog season (May, June, July and early August), Indian summer (late August, September through mid October), rainy season (typically late November through March). Spring starts in February. Summer is cold. Winter is wet, except in drought years. The best weather is in the fall. And only an East Coast person would think it is not humid here — when I go to a truly dry climate — like New Mexico — my wavy hair goes stick straight.

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    • S. – My friend Julie definitely agrees with you! I lived south of San Francisco in Belmont. It was out of the fog and pretty temperate year round. Perhaps if I had stayed longer, I would have eventually got it! Thanks for tolerating this East Coast person’s sweeping statements. Take care – S.

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  2. Good luck on the writing class! Am sure you’ll have them all charmed on the first day. After a beautiful, sunny morning where B rode his bike into the office in Geneva, it is now absolutely pouring down with rain, windy and cold and all of my tulips, daffodils and the tree blossoms are taking a real beating. Hmmph. So much for lovely Spring weather. But the water is welcome after the long dry winter (odd, but it was too cold to rain). And hopefully the lawn will have a chance to recover from the scarcifying job. At least we’re cozy in the house. Let me know how the course went today when you get a chance! xxoo J

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