Thursday, November 24, 2005

what a difference a day makes


The wind kicked the clouds around and now there are patches of blue.

Baking. Apple pastries, a spice cake, corn muffins, chocolate almond orange cake. Did Pilgrims do cake? Is this holiday about Pilgrims? The most American of American holidays. I remember when I was a kid, living in the States just for a few years (my father was with the UN), Thanksgiving meant nothing to my family. Jewish people do not celebrate Christmas. Polish people do not celebrate Thanksgiving. My only experience with turkey was when I occasionally made myself a Swanson’s turkey TV dinner. I thought the pasty gravy sucked.

Baking. It’s not my kitchen here in Evanston and so I do a lot of substitutions. No buttermilk? No problem! Let’s make some. No measuring spoons? No problem! Let’s free ourselves, get rid of the fine print, improvise. Pilgrims and Indians did not use measuring spoons or cooling racks.

Two million people are traveling through O’Hare airport this week-end. My older daughter is one of them. We drove over late last night to pick her up. Thousands of others were doing the same. The curb at the Arrivals terminals was packed five deep with waiting travelers. The cars squeezed in, plucked out their own loved one, moved on. You stand for more than 5 seconds, you get a $75 ticket. My arriving daughter is there, looking, looking and as she spots the blue car, her face turns into one huge grin. My younger one shouts out at the cars – leave ours alone! Don’t pluck her out! She belongs to us!

I hear the average American will consume 7100 calories today. That would be about five times as much as anyone needs. Butterballs, all of us.

I make use of mushrooms. I want our Madison Whole Foods to have these:

Chicago Nov 05 010

Dinner. Chanterelles with corn, exotic mushrooms on the herbed salad. The turkey is rubbed with olive oil and herbs. The mashed buds are herbed as well – with basil and chives. The soup dumplings have tarragon and parsley. Herbs and mushrooms. And chocolate and cranberries. An American Thanksgiving. Right?

Chicago Nov 05 017
baking for breakfast

Chicago Nov 05 018
baking for dinner

Chicago Nov 05 024
cooking for lunch

Chicago Nov 05 040
predinner crostini