Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday before Thanksgiving

Among the countless "Black Friday" emails that popped into my box this morning (did you know that Black Friday starts on Wednesday? Try explaining that to a child who thinks she has mastered the days of the week..) -- one email stood out. It was from Yves Rocher -- a French company that sells affordable creams and cosmetics in countless stores across France and, more recently in more distant places, including Warsaw. The email came because on a wintry day in Poland, I had been passing the store and realized that I badly needed a skin cream. Cold weather is brutal to your epidermis. Sure, we have plenty of good Polish creams, but I didn't know them, didn't want to study them, I just wanted to enter, pick up something familiar and leave. Ever since that day, I get monthly emails in Polish announcing the magnificence of Yves Rocher products in their store.

But today's email was different. It's goal was to let you know, in Polish of course, that Black Friday (those two words appeared in English, in this Polish texted message, sent from this French store) starts now!

I had to laugh. What does this mean to the targeted Polish audience?? What doomsday prophecy is being conveyed? Why Black and why Friday and why today and why in English??

So maybe I was wrong when I wrote yesterday that Thanksgiving is an unfamiliar holiday to the Poles. Maybe slowly this holiday is entering the mainstream even in Warsaw. Thanksgiving -- portending the arrival of Black Friday -- when you are to shop until you drop dead. Hence the reference to this Friday's darkness.

But shopping is not on my Wednesday list. I start with pouring hot water over the iced over bowls we leave out for the cheepers. I have some bread in my pocket. They know I'm here to share...

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Then I sit down to prioritize my cooking goals.

Done. I'm ready for breakfast. A very sunny breakfast.

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And then the usual happens. I scale down on my cooking today. Yes, I could make life easier for myself tomorrow, but I ask myself --  do I really want to bake the dessert, the muffins, the breakfast cake -- all a day in advance? I love the "fresh from the oven" idea, even if said items (and other oven-needy foods) require different oven settings and of course produce aromas that don't necessarily mesh. I mean, you just cant bake a turkey and apple berry crisp at the same moment!

And so I try to work on stuff that you really can do in advance and no one will be the wiser. Splaying (pulling apart the turkey's legs) and then massaging the bird with herbs, garlic, lemon...

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And making turkey stock for the gravy: boiling the necks and giblets for hours -- a great task for today!

And of course, cooking up our own Wisconsin cranberries:

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And now what? Everything else is special only because it's fresh and honest. Okay, I can cut up that squash (standing next to the cranberries) for the soup today. But that's it!

Everything else is fitted into a carefully calibrated timeline for tomorrow. If I get up very early (here we go again!) and I work slowly but consistently (no pauses!), we should eat dinner by... Oh! I better not predict that one! The wise cook never sets expectations. It's an organic process. We will eat when the meals are ready!