Sunday, November 18, 2007

Four Days

Okay, I'm getting into the swing of things here. In between attending the last soccer game of the season, admiring stacks of drawings, and trying to complete a deadline that is not going away no matter how much I ignore it, I have begun thinking about Thanksgiving.

This is what I am thinking: I love Thanksgiving. I love that it is non-denominational. I love that it is about food. And I especially love that it is structured but infinitely flexible, so that feta cheese and grape leaves, or curried lentils, or pineapple chutney or okra or cornbread or maple syrup or oysters, or any other regional specialty or family tradition can find a place next to the turkey. It's one of the only times when we actually are expected to dig up old family recipes and look around at our local landscape for food ideas.

And even if we don't have so many family recipes we want to use (like if you're deciding to give up the marshmallows or the can of fried onions, for example), we can trade and borrow and steal with friends.

For example, I was at my friend Sarah's house the other night. Without breaking conversation stride and while co-managing our daughters' playdate -- three girls between us, who wanted to do things like create a trampoline at the bottom of the stairs -- she managed to make carrot-leek soup, pumpkin pie and spaghetti with spaghetti sauce. It was all homemade and delicious, but I what I loved most was her effortless approach to baking pumpkin for her pie. "The texture's much better when you bake it yourself, don't you think?"

Yes, I do, and it only takes a few minutes more work than digging the can opener out of the drawer.

I know you all already know this, and so did I, but maybe it's worth the reminder in the season of pyramids of pumpkin puree in the supermarket.

Cut the pumkin into wedges. Place in cast iron pan. Cover with foil and bake in a 400-degree for 40-45 minutes, until soft when poked with a fork. Let cool, then scoop out seeds and peel off skin.
Puree in a food processor. Ready for pie.

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