GAYS MILLS - Well, the first full on holiday blast has come and passed. We all seem no worse for the wear, except maybe a few pounds heavier. That certainly goes for at least the Bopper and his Mama. Thatcher and Chasca both have the metabolism of a humming bird. They can drink gallons of whole milk and eat nothing but sticks of butter and probably still wouldn’t gain a pound. Bops and I on the other hand, well, let’s just say we both are wearing soft-waisted pants this week.
Last year, I was a week out from giving birth to the little scrapper at Thanksgiving, so food was the last thing on my mind. Everyone talks about wanting to be pregnant during the holidays, but when you’re 39 weeks pregnant...there is no room for anything except complaints and discomfort.
I made up for it all this year by being the bringer of all things cheese to our first family gathering of the week.
Thanksgiving at the Cab, Chasca’s grandparent’s annual holiday affair. It’s one of my favorites because the turkey is succulent; there are several pans of stuffing, and a champagne toast.
This year, my offerings included an almost-too-beautiful-to-eat cheesecake. Which, at the sight of it one guest commented, “If there is a heaven that must be what it looks like.”
I also brought my impulsively purchased small wheel of ‘baking Brie’ and the biggest, heaviest pan of macaroni and cheese I’ve ever concocted.
The mac and cheese, which I ate for lunch today, December 2 was kind of an accident. I had meant to make a modest pan for I know the other attendees of the party aren’t huge on the delicious wonders that are carbs. But, when I accidently dumped in double the amount of elbow macaroni than the recipe called for, well, there was no turning back.
A few pounds of cheese, a stick of scrumptious fancy butter, six cups of milk and two cups of heavy whipping cream later, those two pounds of noodles were on their way into the oven.
Luckily, everyone ooooh'd and ahhh’d over the giant pan of ooey-gooey cheesy goodness and we all ate our fill. I was feeling especially piggish and went for a second plate. When I was unable to finish the last few tablespoons of green bean casserole and exclaimed to myself “Ooof, I can’t do it,” the young lad sitting next to me, Cousin Clovis, volunteered, “I can!” and proceeded to scrape my scraps onto his plate.
When we went to Thanksgiving number two a couple of days later, we were greeted by all the traditional fare. But, the twist was in the deserts.
My dear Aunt Eve has always been a great baker and maker of sweet things. So, when she was rummaging through my grandpa’s things and found an old farmer’s ledger in which the farmers wife had recorded all of her favorite recipes in the back. Upon finding this treasure trove of delights, Eve decided she would try to make every recipe in the book. It sounded as though for an unskilled baker and maker, this could present a challenge because of the way the recipes were written.
“Most of them say stuff like ‘Put in a hot oven’ or ‘when the fudge is a softball, its ready.’ But, I know how to bake a pie and I have a candy thermometer so it works just fine for me,” Aunt Eve quipped with confidence.
For the party, Aunt Eve created the apple pie, complete with her Pie Bird (which, I actually had to Google). For all the other young people not familiar with pie accessories, it's a ceramic bird–Eve’s looked more like a goose–that nestles in the middle to vent said pie. And, of course, she had to bake up a batch of old-fashioned molasses cookies. Although, Thatcher didn't agree, the cookies were amazing. So was the pie.
Traditional pumpkin pie was there as well, also made from the 1930s farm wife recipe. It had a rich, deep color compared to the brighter burnt orange color of pies now days. Waylon seemed to love it most of all. So much so, that when his dad wasn’t looking he crawled up to his plate and slapped the whip cream covered slice down to the floor in hopes of having it all for himself.
Alas, the young lad was foiled when the most of it landed on Chasca’s dirty Carhart pants and boots. Never fear though, the baby had plenty of sweet treats in the form of an entire mini cake for him during his First Birthday Celebration, as well as fat slices of cheese cake and more.I almost hope there will be a lull in all of this good holiday eating, but perhaps all of this good food is a sign of the snow and heavy winter to come and I’m just packing on the pounds for hibernation. I guess that remains to be seen.