Signs of Autumn

Fall has officially fallen here in Brooklyn--Eric, Baxter and I took a walk this morning to buy a large pot that will be the winter home of Eric's incredibly healthy, entirely accidental chili pepper plant (which grew over the summer from a batch of dried chilis tossed into an empty windowbox after they had collected dust long after I bought them on a trip to New Mexico)--and I'm reminded of all the reasons why I love New York City...and the East Coast.

Fall weekends in the city are stunning...all blue skies and crisp breezes...and my very favorite thing about city living--the fact that every corner deli doubles as a flower shop--becomes even more awesome. Pumpkins are piled up outside of the entrances, waiting to be bought and carved, mums are lined up down the sidewalk in an explosion of fall colors, and dahlias make their appearance.

I try to have fresh flowers in the house as often as possible...when they cost $5, there's really no reason not to have something beautiful on my kitchen counter...but dahlias are my absolute favorite. They're only around in the fall...and they come in these stunning colors, brilliant deep reds that hint at purple, burgundies that look more like burgundy than the wine they reference, oranges that bend into yellow, or is that red? They're gorgeous. And they're special to me for a number of reasons...they were the cornerstone of my wedding bouquet (we were married in October), of the little posies that littered our wedding reception...and they were my grandmother's favorite flower.

My grandmother was British...the most British of British women, and, while I often regret that I was not able to spend more time in England with she and my grandfather, one of the things I do remember is that she loved freshly cut dahlias. Apparently that's a genetic thing. Because when I saw them in my corner deli today, I got more excited than I should have done. And now there is a bright, burgundy bouquet in my kitchen.

And a newly potted chili plant with one, beautiful red chili on it. Any suggestions of what we should do with it?