White Dog came into the kitchen sniffing; seconds later The Other White Dog joined us yawning and but definitely following his nose. I was browning meat for stew. After my official taste testers told me the meat was ready, I added some onions to caramelize and then a huge amount of paprika...things were starting to smell like my childhood. My Hungarian grandmother's stew was a hallmark of Autumn and based on the reaction of WD and TOWD, her recipe still held its magic.
With a great sizzling roar, we added water to the pot and sent up a fragrant steam that made us all anxious for dinner. We slow cooked the meat awhile, both White Dogs keeping close watch on the pot, and then added potatoes and carrots. All afternoon we wrapped ourselves into the warm homey feel the smell created as we watched storm clouds gather and the leaves jump from their summer home branches.
It was indeed Autumn, and as we cuddled together, I shared stories of raking (not blowing) leaves and putting up storm windows, and packing away summer clothes. White Dog and Quinn listened as though I was relating events from pre-biblical times.
And then...it was time for one final taste test before I mixed the dough for dumplings and sealed the top of the stew with big fluffy puffs. "Hey, it kind of looks like there is a white dog protecting the stew now," White Dog laughed. "It better be prepared to share the bounty when dad gets home!" At that, the two real life White Dogs took up positions where they could guard dinner and be comfortable...and we all breathed in deeply.