I know you heard it. It was the simultaneous sound of air conditioners being snapped off for the first time in months, and the sigh of relief that involuntarily follows.
It’s a sound New Orleans waits for all through the long, hot, spirit-testing summer here. It’s a harbinger of the fall, and other sounds help tell the tale, including some that speak directly to New Orleans appetites.
Taste and smell are vital, and we eat with our eyes first of course. But these aren’t the only senses that inform our enjoyment of food. Sounds matter too and, if you listen, the changing of the seasons in Louisiana gives a feast for your ears.
We can hear the season’s approach in the kitchen. It’s in the heavy gravely grind of black pots and cast iron skillets being pulled from the back of the cabinet. That’s because the gumbo, stews and gravies made within them are returning to the forefront of Louisiana cravings.
At farmers markets and better groceries, the season registers in a greater bounty of local crops and a higher volume of chatter over them. This is the season for parties and holidays and gathering and reconnecting. People have a lot to talk about as they fill their baskets around the market.
Open your ears at the oyster bar too. Fall announces that the prime, cool-weather season for oysters is getting closer. The anticipation gets keener and the pleasure of oysters gets sharper.
So while you work through a cold dozen listen between your slurps. In the knock of hard shells against the shuckers’ lead blocks, in the scoop and flick of their knives and in the crunch of opened oysters hitting the bare marble bar top, you can hear an orchestra of autumn.
While you’re at it, add the pop of a cork or the crack of a bottle top to the sounds of the season too. It’s time to indulge a bit. After all, if we've made it through another Louisiana summer we all have a little something to celebrate.