Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Random Thanksgiving-ish thoughts, mostly about pie

I'm not hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow, so the brunt of the preparation falls to my mom this year. I did, however, bake pies and cookies today, which kept me in the kitchen for quite some time. A few random thoughts I had as I was preparing for tomorrow's feast.

I like the idea of cooking with my kids more than the reality of cooking with my kids
This dawned on me today as my five year old son was blissfully crumbling butter and flour through his little fingers to help me make pie crust. He and I made a decent enough team, but there really wasn't room for two more sets of hands, as my other two kids caught wind of what we were doing and jostled for positions at the counter. I want them to have fun with me in the kitchen, but when I'm preparing food to take somewhere, all their "help" is not much help at all. I have more baking to do on Friday and I think I'll make an extra bit of pie dough so they can roll and shape it to their little hearts' content - and leave mine alone.

I want to be that really fun, hands on mom that lets them mess up my kitchen and revels in the beauty of the experience, but that is So. Hard.

One Thanksgiving has never been enough
Since I was a kid, I've always had two big dinners Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving day would be spent, alternately, with one of my parents (they were divorced). Friday would be spent at my grandma's house, as she always had a casual, but delicious, Second Thanksgiving. I miss those dinners. Luckily for me, my grandma is still around, but her ability to cook a big meal is not, so it has been years since we've had that dinner at her place. My husband and I took up the tradition though, and we always have a second big turkey dinner on Saturday, usually with a random assortment of friends and family. It is a fair amount of work, but it is always a great time.

I show love by feeding people
I love to feed people good food. Like, I really, really love it. Watching someone enjoy my cooking is so satisfying. I am not a fancy cook, but I can cook some things really well, if I do say so myself. And I make really good desserts. Again, not fancy, but stuff that just melts in your mouth and makes you want to eat nothing else for the rest of your life. Yes, I'm bragging a little. Pies, cakes, cookies - they are my masterpieces. And few things give me such warm fuzzies as watching people ooh and ahh and mmmmmmm over my goodies.

Which is probably why I have a hard time taking criticism for my cooking
My husband is... particular. He likes things a certain way, usually the exact, precise same way as always. Especially when it comes to food. Food is really important to him. If you ask him about our honeymoon, he will to this day, tell you about our trip in terms of where and what we ate. He's not mean or unkind, but he will also tell me when something new I make isn't all that great, or when an old standby isn't what it used to be. He means well - in rather guy-ish fashion, he sees his comments as a help to me, letting me know how something could be better. But I have a hard time not feeling crushed because the approval I so crave wasn't there; the mmm's and oooohs and ahhhhs so glaringly missing.

So I'm a bit nervous about my apple pie
Today I feel like I took a great big step up the ladder of pie making, at least in my family. I made my Grandma Dorothy's apple pie. I love her apple pie. It is so wondrous, so delicious, so tart and sweet and flaky and buttery and perfect. My husband also loves her apple pie and has been bugging me for years to get her recipe. I don't know why I've never attempted it before, but today I called her up and not only did she give me the recipe, she gave me rather detailed instructions as I furiously took notes. I'm excited to try it tomorrow, but I have such enormous shoes to fill, I don't know if my apple pie will ever be as good as hers. She has magic pie hands. I actually think I got my baking gene from her (of course that's a real thing - baking could be genetic), so hopefully my first attempt at the greatest-apple-pie-ever will be a smashing success.

In any case, I know tomorrow will be filled with lots of good food, fully bellies, warmth, love and fun. I'm blessed with a great family and I'm excited for the festivities to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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