It happened again tonight. In one short recipe browsing session, I was whirled away to gastronomic Wonderland. I’m talking about reading an article on Thanksgiving dishes with a close up shot of a pumpkin pie slice. You know the photo. The one with the dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with some cinnamon softly resting on a flaky crust filled with the perfectly baked pumpkin dream. I caught myself leaning toward my laptop, to gather in the scent. When I realized I had conjured the smell of homemade pumpkin pie in my head, I smiled a bit sadly. (I was that close!) We’ve hosted Thanksgiving for much of my adult life. I credit my mother-in-law with teaching me the secrets to an amazing meal. Golden brown turkey, homemade crouton stuffing, and freshly made parker rolls. I often change up the side dishes, maybe including Brussels sprouts with bacon and hazelnuts, or white cheddar mashed potatoes. But the turkey and stuffing remain unchanged as a tribute to the many times she rescued me.
When the kids were younger we also made our own butter. (I have a churn collection that rarely gets used.) It was a fun way for them to be a part of the prep work. They also learned that butter doesn’t grow in sticks at the grocery store.
One year I decided on a shortcut, being the liberated, working generation, I am Woman Hear Me Roar (at my family) kind of girl. I ordered rolls from the local bread company. As I was prepping the meal, I realized I forgot to pick them up! I know it doesn’t seem like a disaster now in the big scheme of life, but I was pretty wigged out. The stores were closed, so we eventually settled on the last two loaves of Wonder Bread from Walgreens. They were sad looking slices slouched over in my pretty basket, no doubt embarrassed for being the understudies. Sigh…
I’m older and oh, so much wiser now. Not that I won’t forget some important piece of the meal, but I realize how little it matters. It’s easier to relax now, like getting over the first spill on your new carpet. And always a chance it’ll be humorous down the road.
Now as we begin the next dance to Thanksgiving perfection, I’m in tune and ready for the waltz of the senses. Can you smell it?