Monday, November 30, 2015


We had our little Thanksgiving gathering last night, postponed and consulted on and dithered about with three sets of us, with our first group having to make what my Daddy always called a “flying trip,” when a visit was short.  The GA bunch came last Sunday, spent thee nights---I had great daytimes to spend with the Kiddos, while their parents went house-hunting a couple of hours away (hooray!  Closest they’ve ever lived).  We all gathered for our suppers together, and had a wonderful time, but no chance of settling in to a real Thanksgiving dinner together.

So we settled on last night, for the few of us “in town,” and little did we know . . .    You know how I’ve always liked the combination of pink and orange, especially at Thanksgiving, when it’s time to bring out the special old cloth and those fabulous clunky pink Fostoria goblets?   Or just in general, enhancing my new kitchen with a few Fall items all around this room? 

Well.  The niceties of that certainly did NOT predict nor include having a big old ORANGE extension cord wound all across kitchen counter, behind the sink, and down to the coffee-and-Bose corner, because suddenly THAT plug gave up the ghost as well.   And there we were, with things out of place, and all that cooking going on, and suddenly it dawned:   Whatever breaker that plug was on must deal with the FURNACE, as well, for we were getting colder and colder, and no warming chuff of the igniting, nor the cheery hum of the faithful fan to distribute the warm air.   A call to “our” electrician whose month of delays occasioned the taking-down and desperate putting-back-up of the kitchen cabinets before the GA contingent arrived brought him immediately to the house while all the good dinner smells of sage and onion and sweet potatoes wafted through the rooms.   Verdict:  sump’n sump’n “outside line”   “Power Company” “they will be right here” as he called it in.

And they were, with the verdict that they’d put us on their schedule for today.  So, as he had checked and metered and called, we asked him twice to sit and eat with us, but he’d already eaten, so we wavered.   You can't just SIT DOWN TO THANKSGIVING with another person in the house, even though they've declined, and are working, can you?  It just seem so not right, somehow. And we'd waited DAYS to have the special time together.  So when he left almost three hours after our scheduled mid-afternoon repast, we got out all the hot dishes and Caro quickly cooked the broccoli, Sweetpea grabbed her little page of History of Thanksgiving in Color and Prose to read to us after the Blessing, and we sat down.

And even with all the delay and chafing at the probably-dried-out everything, the meal was absolutely perfect.   The dressing was moist and delicious inside its lovely golden top and bottom crust, the sweet potatoes sweet and rich, with the marshmallows gently melted atop, the pineapple casserole still creamy beneath the Ritz-crumbs-fried-in-butter topping, and the TURKEY---oh that Turkey---simply delicious and tender and moist and still nice and warm, through some magical alchemy of prayer and hope and gritted teeth at all the delays.   It was the weirdest, nicest thing---the wait seemed to have created some sort of strange bubble of peace and perfection after we sat down, and everything seemed even to taste better than usual.

The sublime Pecan-Wood-Smoked Turkey:


Caro’s stir-fry/steamed Broccoli in Mother's Vegetable-Bowl-to-match-her-china:

Sweet Potato Custard:

Gravy with boiled eggs:

Pineapple Casserole, sweet little nuggets in a rich cheese sauce with Butter-sizzled Ritz crumbs atop:

Devilled eggs, before the compote of Cranberry was set into place. Actually the plates were half-served when Chris mentioned it, and I heard a little whisper of “It’s probably in the Microwave,” (family joke about the One Missed Thing), as I got it out of the fridge.

Sweetpea’s Mama’s wonderful Pink Salad:

Dessert was a fabulous, moist Pumpkin Roulade with a Ginger cream cheese filling, a gift made by a friend of Caro’s.

What a day, memorable in all sorts of ways, and you certainly deserve a big Turkey Sandwich, with all the trimmings, if you’re still here.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Several years ago Thanksgiving

I’ve just been roaming around looking at Thanksgiving posts on friends’ blogs, and it was a wonderful thing to see---all the preparations and polishings and things chosen carefully for the cherish of them and the guests who would use them.  I blush to tell that I simply imagined all the family hustle-bustles, the warm redolences of sage and pie, the light and the clink of silver on plate, for we had our pot-roast dinner on trays at the TV.   What an odd feeling.   The wonderful aroma of that pan of cushion-tender beef-in-rich-gravy perfumed the house for several hours in the afternoon, and the corn pudding, the pot of shiny pearls of Calrose, the Waldorf salad, all took a small time in the kitchen to prepare, and we just simply WERE in our dim cocoon, for Caro was sleeping upstairs to go to work, and all the departure of our rowdy crowd the day before was still ringing in the house, somehow, with remnants of fruit and yogurts and pretzel crumbs in the kitchen. 

We’ll gather with our few local Lovies on Sunday, when everyone’s schedule allows us the day.  There’s an enormous turkey in the fridge for Chris to put on the grill for a few hours, and most of the other necessaries for a small family dinner in the house.   We’ll gather and be thankful again. I always say that the holidays begin when you put together the Thanksgiving dressing.

And I’ll have the so-familiar moment once again, of these decades of Thanksgiving and Christmas preparation, of the MOMENT:

There’s something so just itself and so nostalgic about leaning over that big bowl of crumbled cornbread, minced onion and celery, fresh-ground black pepper and a little shake of poultry seasoning or several crumbled curls of sage, and inhaling that unmistakable aroma combination.  That humble, homey scent of brown crusty bread and onion and garden sage is a centuries-old memory-scent for Southern women, I think, carried on from sparse black skillet to Pyrex to le Creuset, with the meaning and taste intact for all the intervening years.

Then there will be the laying of the table, the setting out and arranging, for a celebration small but of great import---the thankfulness for all our blessings, and for those gathered with us and the ones far away, but always in our hearts. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015


For those of you who took yesterday’s post to mean we’re all catch-as-catch-can with the kitchen for Thanksgiving and a week of Grands for a visit---be not dismayed.   The kitchen is its shining self, with everything back in  place on the walls, cabinets re-filled, canisters and utensils in their new homes, and good scents emanating from that direction this minute.   It's just that we took DOWN some of them a month ago for some work, then gave up and put them back up because five of the chillun will be here tonight, to spend the week.

The only thing was a late-discovered electrical thing which precludes running washer and dryer at the same time as any other appliance or plug on that one breaker.   So the thing to do was take down one new cabinet and the huge microwave shelf, so as to get at the breaker box.   The dear guys came and removed those way back in October so the electrician could come at any time, and the contents have been strewn across both breakfast and dining tables, with the two cabinets scrumped beneath the big table.  No big thing in the scheme of, but disheartening to think I was going to get it all done Halloween, then the NEXT Saturday for sure, and then by this Monday, we just decided to heck with it, had the men come replace cabinets, and told the electrician NEVER MIND til after Christmas.   Not in capitals, but by then, I was quite of a mind to shout.

So we’re perking along.   Top picture is the completed kitchen. 
The corner with the big old homemade shelf, with Mammaw's big Homer Laughlins on top:

I love the ombre line of sugars, most with vanilla beans inside:

The gaudy group of utensils, in an old crocky pitcher and a modern stand.


And if I had the picture I just took of Chris, out valiantly scraping the inches of snow off the windows after we got caught in a white, downy blizzard of what looked like enormous cornflakes, wet and clumpy, when we came out of the grocery store, I'd be posting that one, too.   It brights me most of all.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Apropos of nothing, really, but sort of stream-of-consciousness (but in my scattery mind, it’s usually a whizbang mishmash of ten thousand thoughts, whirling past those second-base-synapses napping on post and too late to capture).

I haven’t been posting much, for after all the froofraw of the kitchen clutter and mutter and chaos, after the shining-white and pink were finally established in all their crisp glory, and the last pink spatula parked upright in the old crockery pitcher, an electrical problem came to light, as it were, so we’ve had to have that worked on (appointments for estimates, appointments for measuring, appointments for the doing of the job, plus an appointment with the two kind young men who come and TAKE DOWN said cabinets so the wire-guy can do his work, and then three consecutive cancelled appointments to actually DO the wiring, with cabinets and contents scattered about on tables and floors for three weeks)---after all THAT, with time for five of our Lovies to arrive for Thanksgiving week, we finally got the original putter-upper guys to re-attach cabinets and we’ll start again after Christmas.

I swear, there’s been enough WHINE around here to overflow the Loire region and Napa, all at once.   When that thought hit me this morning, I thought immediately of DEAR Tom T. Hall and his watermelon wine, and felt better.

If you’ve never heard him sing, please DO.  Takes me back, takes me Out Of, and fills my heart

Sunday, November 15, 2015


 We stand, we support, we grieve.

Aujourd'hui, nous sommes tous les Parisiens.