29 November, 2008

The Aromas of Gratitude

The day began with bowls and spoons, whisks and cups, and a whole lot of mashed, roasted pumpkin. With Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks chick-flicks keeping me company on the television, I whipped up some delicious pumpkin bread, thanks to the recipe Mom sent from the Paint Bank Ladies Auxiliary cookbook. An adjustment here, a substitution there and this country women's recipe helped to produce two beautiful, mahogany loaves.

City Mouse Pumpkin Bread
3 rounded cups bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups roasted pumpkin, mashed
3/4 cups raisins (sultanas)

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). In a large bowl, beat eggs until fully blended. Add oil, sugar, and pumpkin, whisking until relatively smooth. In a second bowl, mix remaining ingredients and fluff with a whisk to incorporate more air. Add the dry to the wet and stir until well mixed, adding in raisins at the last minute. Lightly grease two loaf pans with oil spray and dust with flour. Pour the mixture evenly between the two pans and bake for an hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool out of the pan, on a board or wire rack. Slice and serve with steaming hot coffee or tea!
As that bread tempted both Laney-dog and myself with it's sweet aroma, it was time to prepare the pie. Oh yes. Pumpkin Pie. The one thing that makes any day Thanksgiving Day. This year's turned out to be the best pumpkin pie I've ever made. I really should write these things down. But I think, if I try, memory will serve.

Next came the veggies that needed chopping, the homemade bread that needed to be dried and diced for stuffing, and myriad other ritualistic practices I've always associated with this forth Thursday in November...even if we were celebrating on the Friday after.

While goodies baked and cooled, treats roasted and fried, I set myself to work washing up the mess I'd made, laying the table, and deciding just how many serving spoons one really requires for a fulfilling life.

Everything turned out fabulously! I couldn't have been more pleased. Though far from home, and one day off schedule, it was the nicest Thanksgiving dinner one could hope for, not to mention being a first for my Aussie husband. But what man wouldn't love a holiday devoted to bountiful food? Even the dear pup shared in the festivities.

I think that is my favorite thing about Thanksgiving. There's just that one thing that makes it my favorite holiday. It asks for, and expects nothing.

I love Halloween, don't get me wrong. And though I'm not of that religious persuasion, I am very culturally ingrained in Christmas and, to a lesser degree, Easter. But all of those fine days ask for candies and gifts, requiring money and pomp, even on the most modest levels.

Thanksgiving asks none of these things. It asks only that we come together we put aside our yearly sorrows, and show gratitude that we've got what it takes to provide ourselves, and loved ones, a feast proportionate to our means.

How lovely it would be if all countries, the world around, adopted the spirit of such a day. Gratitude. Appreciation. Love. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


RazorFamilyFarms.com said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Kelly! I'm sorry to be a day behind (our time) but Josh and I only just returned from Huntsville, Alabama. We were visiting his Aunt Julie and Uncle Raul.

Your Thanksgiving spread looks lovely!


Kelly the City Mouse said...

Thanks! It was a pretty good, and very mellow, day. Glad you had a nice trip for your bday and Thanksgiving. Yes, we had a delicious dinner, even if it was a day late!