For me, the kitchen is “command central.” I spend many of my waking hours there, doing the things that can only be done in a kitchen, as well as those that could be done elsewhere. So this past weekend, there I was, alternating between reading Early Notification applications, and baking for Thanksgiving.
If the blog’s current readership is similar to last year’s, many of you are outside the U.S., and I’d like to tell you that Thanksgiving is the best. Here’s why: It doesn’t matter who you are — visitor to the U.S., new citizen, descendant of a Mayflower passenger, or Native American — if you want to make Thanksgiving your holiday, it’s yours! Unlike many major holidays, religion plays no role in deciding who participates. It’s a holiday to share — so invite some friends, cook a meal, and you’re in business! What could be more wonderful than a holiday that has, at its heart, the giving of thanks?
And, here’s something that may surprise you: Despite the tendency in the U.S. to find business opportunities in every occasion, Thanksgiving is largely uncommercialized. Sure, you can pick up paper plates in seasonal designs, but there’s no gift giving. Just family, friends, and food.
Americans are, as a nation, home bakers. Many people will bake only once a year, and this is it. Pies, cakes, cookies. Yum! I know that my mother baked now and then, but all I can remember are her delicious Thanksgiving confections. I bake all year round, but on Thanksgiving, I take the ingredients out of the cabinets, pile everything on the counters, and keep going until I can’t justify another cookie.
So this past weekend was mostly devoted to holiday preparation. On Friday, I chose my recipes and did my shopping. On Saturday, I started up: two apple pies, one pecan-apple tart, some chocolate with dried fruits, and a bit of applesauce to use up extra apples. Also some cranberry relish. (This isn’t exactly the recipe I used, but it’s close enough.) On Wednesday, I’ll bake some more, and make the sweet potatoes. (Which reminds me — Thanksgiving is a holiday of entrenched traditions. Tell a sweet-potato family that you’re going to make squash or white potatoes, and watch the shocked expressions. You just don’t mess around with stuff like that.) On Thursday, Paul (my husband) will make stuffing, I’ll make a salad, and Josh (my son, home from college) and Kayla (my daughter) will bake cookies. My cousin will prepare the rest of the meal, including the turkey and “spoon bread” (a staple in our meal thanks to my aunt from Arkansas), and will bring everything over at about 4:00. We’ll have 16 for dinner on Thursday, and we’ll have 14 the next night for leftovers.
When the dinner and leftovers are done, it will be time to turn back to Fletcher’s Early Notification applications. They’ll be there with me in the kitchen — hiding out under a counter while the meal is prepared and consumed. But the end of the weekend will certainly find me at the kitchen table, reading away, and enjoying the lingering scent of the Thanksgiving meal.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
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