In the blur that is the final week leading up to Thanksgiving, the kitchen is in a constant state of loco-motion. You have to be the slightest bit crazy to cross the line from front of house past the convection ovens, baker’s bench, and groaning Hobart mixers. There is a logical progression to the madness, a systematic organization to the chaos. It is both physically and emotionally impossible to conquer Thanksgiving without a team. I am enormously grateful to be working elbow to elbow with a bandana clad crew uberly capable of dodging dangerously hot ovens and a maze of baker’s racks, while at the same time maintaining tempers below the boiling point.
On the home front, this was a bittersweet holiday, the very first without the patriarch of the family supervising and reminding us of the critical importance of food temperatures. He would have been thrilled to know that the hot foods were served appropriately hot and the cold foods perfectly chilled. It was also record breaking in the fact that we forgot to check the decaffeinated coffee supply. This resulted in a coffee-free pie course; I am happy to report we survived.
One of my favorite holiday moments occurs following a marathon of work hours on Wednesday afternoon. Leaving the bakery crazy behind, I stop before heading home to drop off a few pies to my pal Marty, who resides in an assisted living community. Marty likes to remind me to appreciate the little things because when you reach your eighties, life is a constantly changing landscape. His words ring true most days, but particularly on Thanksgiving. There were fewer chairs around the table this year, a sad commentary on the passage of time. In light of this, a 9” aluminum pie tin lined with a circle of dough and filled with fruit seems less significant. What is significant, is contributing to a holiday that brings folks and families together.
Christmas Carols are already tumbling out of the car radio. As you embark upon the holiday season, it seems only fitting to fortify yourself. I highly recommend a healthy triangle of post-Thanksgiving pie followed by a brief stroll. Follow this up with a substantial nap and December should be a breeze.