Many things suggest the onslaught of Thanksgiving but nothing more clearly than the assault of the cinnamon broom at the entrance to Trader Joe’s.
In my pre-holiday Eeyore state of mind, I must push the pause button on yams and gourds. Following a day icing cookies that resemble feathered turkeys and slices of pumpkin pie, the Ameri- Color Soft Gel Paste in Electric Orange has tinted my right thumb. As of this writing, my thumb refuses to return to its natural flesh tone. I have a slight left ankle limp resulting from several close encounters with a case of Libby pumpkin in #10 cans. My knuckles have been nicked zesting citrus of the orange variety. Not only is this a hazardous time of year, I am in desperate need of a hiatus from my November color palette. Who to turn to? I shall seek refuge in the sassy cranberry. Besides, I desperately need the freezer space.
Granted, my vision is blurred by rounds and rounds of all butter pie crust, towering 9” pie plates and clouds of all-purpose flour hovering over the bakers bench. I've grown impatient listening to folks talking Heritage, Heirloom, Organic and Kosher. Except for the Gluten-free Thursday crowd who persist in trying to order pies for the holiday. Why can’t we bake something sans butter, sans flour? Call me old-fashioned, but I’ll take a pass on the pie slice sporting an intricately woven xanthum gum and brown rice flour lattice.
Thanksgiving is notoriously centered around extended tables, cloaked in monogrammed linen that requires ironing. Drippy candles will leave behind blisters of wax and cranberry sauce will stain napkins dot-to-dot scarlet. Year after year families assemble, squeezing in extra folding chairs, mismatching place settings. We complain about too many side dishes, the right vs. the wrong kind of stuffing, the best way to thicken the gravy and whether you need vanilla ice cream with the pies. Apparently, you do. Added note: the perfectly adequate day-to-day Chemex coffee pot will not suffice. Most guests will ask for decaf, the spunky in the group will demand caffeine and within a very short time, everyone will be as overstuffed as the sofa. Those not washing dishes will seek out a safe haven where they can nod off. (Unless you sat at the Kids Table and you are in the midst of eating the milk chocolate turkey, foil and all.) Despite popular belief, carbohydrates, not tryptophan will null and void the caffeine. Yes, of course we are thankful, but I wonder if we should consider changing the name of the holiday to Carbogiving?
Imagining more than a jiggerful of fun and just a splash of dysfunction as families gather, I will focus on my task at hand and my rolling pin in hand. Personally, I hanker for a small serving of something pie-like. Not by the slice, but preferably by the bite. Something portable, requiring nothing more than one's palm as an adequate plate.
This week I am turning my attention to breakfast and a vehicle where cranberries play the lead and tender sour cream pastry lands the supporting role. There will be plenty of time for Big Pie in the next two weeks. But not today. Today I am all about little bites leaving behind tiny crumbs that can be swept away with my ordinary, non-cinnamon scented bristle broom.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm