t-day

i’m postdating this because I CAN.

i finally made pumpkin fondue for thanksgiving, which i’ve been wanting to try for a while now. i heard about it on mpr sometime, probably when gourmet magazine went print defunct, and promptly went to the internet to find it: http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2008/11/roast-pumpkin-with-cheese-fondue

i thought it was mediocre. others really liked it. i didn’t get any post-cooked pics, but i did have the wherewithall to take some before pics!

cheese fondue

upcoming thanksgiving

no catvember today! tomorrow is thanksgiving, so i am baking and cooking like a fiend. perhaps tomorrow catvember will resume, or else i will post pictures of my food! OR…i might not post at all. we’ll see what happens!

my other goal for the month of november, which was to get at least 50,000 words in on my devils syrup book, is not going well πŸ™

thanksgivings of yore

this is what i sent in for rochester women’s magazine and got published. 

When daylight saving gives us an extra hour of sleep on a Saturday night, and the days suddenly grow so short that I wonder why it’s 9:30 p.m., look at the clock, and realize it’s still 5 p.m., I know it’s time for the holidays. I’m not one to want Christmas to come right after Halloween, and I enjoy the time it takes to move from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s. But Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be, for some reason.

When I was young, my family went to my aunt Kathleen & uncle George’s house for the day, along with their kids, my aunt Colette, and uncle Squire. My mom was “famous,” I guess you could say, for her pumpkin pie, and this is the dish we would bring to the Thanksgiving spread. Although I loved the food and the people at the time, looking back, it was really the night before Thanksgiving that was especially endearing.

For the four pies that would ultimately come from the oven, my mom would start prepping right after supper, pulling out cans of pumpkin puree and evaporated milk. She mixed the ingredients in the large stainless steel pot we owned, the only thing big enough to hold all the ingredients. There was a real science to the spices, taste-testing for the right combination after each dash here, teaspoon there. Some years we had pies that tasted heavily of cloves; other years, nutmeg sparkled on our tongues.

After the filling was perfected, it was time for the crust, which was the best part for us kids, and the worst part for my mom. My siblings and I would gather around as we watched her crumble flour, salt, and Crisco between her fingers, then add water until the dough stuck together. We helped get the pie plates ready, which I never remember her buying and that she still uses, by swirling Crisco on the bottom and sides with a napkin, making circular patterns until we were told to stop.

Meanwhile, my uncle Squire always came to our house the night before Thanksgiving to make his contribution to the dinner: cranberry-orange sauce. Because he was a bachelor and didn’t have much of a need for kitchen gadgets, he didn’t own a blender, a necessary accouterment for making cranberry-orange sauce. My dad, of course, was in the kitchen as well, inputting commentary when necessary and generally making fun of my mom and uncle. So there we were in the kitchen, my mom, dad, Squire, and one, two, three, or four kids.

Our countertops were old and not the best for large-area food preparation, so my mom used a piece of laminate, which was a remnant of countertop cut for a sink (something I realized much later in life). After my dad pulled it from its cubbyhole and placed it on the kitchen, my mom prepared for the most difficult part of piemaking: rolling the dough. After cursing her dough and yelling at us to watch out while she flipped the crust from the surface to the plate, my mom let us have the leftover pieces to mash together and play with. After begging to cook our mini-pie creations, mom made us toss our dough in the trash.

But the best was yet to come: It was time to slip the pies into the oven. Baking four pies took time – two batches of prep and hour-long baking for four pies – and of course, small children had to go to sleep to prepare for the next day’s festivities. We were tucked into bed while the pies baked, the smell wafting up the stairs and into the bedroom where we would be lulled to sleep by the scent of pumpkin and spices. It was the best night’s sleep of the year.

why i like thanksgiving

i pulled up FB this morning while i was lying in bed and happened across a post from my friend megan who said who doesn’t like thanksgiving? a holiday that revolves around food and shopping! to which she got a ton of responses from people who don’t like thanksgiving.

good grief (as megan so aptly commented).

response 1: i don’t like the food.

rebuttal: you HAVE FOOD. some people aren’t so lucky.

response 2: i have too many places to go.

rebuttal: you have people who like you and want to see you. some people aren’t so lucky.

response 3: native americans.

rebuttal: i did a quick google search on this. there are many american indians who celebrate t-day. there are many who don’t but get together with family and friends for a big meal. 

so, i posted “I LOVE THANKSGIVING!!!!!!…” first, then wrote a whole post about why i like and am thankful for thanksgiving. i figured it would be a nice blog post, and it would give you a break on the cats (….well, on second thought, no one is getting sick of the kitties…)

why i am thankful for and like thanksgiving: 

  1. i have the day off because i am lucky to have a job not in retail. 
  2. i get to cook a huge meal, and i love to cook AND i love to eat. i indulge that day because it’s one day a year. 
  3. i get to see my family that day. if i weren’t on awesome terms with my fam, i’d most likely get together with friends. 
  4. WE HAVE FUN!!! it’s AWESOME!!! my mom might drive me nuts a little, but overall, spending time with family is one of my favorite things, if not favorite. 
  5. this is just the beginning of a 4-day weekend. 4 whole days off work to goof around! once again thankful for my job. i might get a couple runs in there too, but it’s relaxing. 
  6. my sister Jane MacArthur and i go shopping on black friday because why not?? it’s fun to laugh at the early birders, and when we do go, the crowds have died down enough to be tolerable. 
  7. LEFTOVERS. dressing is great, pie is great, turkey is great, GRAVY. nomnomnom. 
  8. have i mentioned pie yet? i really like pie. it deserves a number of its own. 
  9. check out this huffpo article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/do-american-indians… he’s american indian who doesn’t celebrate thanksgiving for the historical reasons, “But I do take advantage of the holiday and get together with family and friends to share a large meal without once thinking of the Thanksgiving in 1621.” doesn’t this describe most of us? how many of us actually think of the historical reasons when we greet our friends and family and settle in for a big meal? i’m not trying to demean the historical aspect, i’m just thinking it might be time for a shift in the meaning of the holiday.
  10. 10. when my family was poor as dirt, we would deliver thanksgiving meals to families who signed up for free food through our church. although we were poor and probably couldn’t put together a t-day feast of our own, we still had family to spend t-day with and still had food on our plates. i am always thankful that i have had family to spend time with and who will support me through tough times.