Like much of America, I’m busy plotting for Thanksgiving. This week, it’s all about Thursday, the eating and lazing about and merrymaking. But before that, it’s all about the cooking.
I’m having Thanksgiving lunch with three friends of mine, and I think the number of dishes we’re making outnumbers us by at least 3:1. For my part, I’m making these peanut butter bars. They aren’t very Thanksgiving in theme, but they do remind me of my family, whom I will not see for another month. I’m also making a smoky pumpkin quiche, and here’s where the story gets crazy. Perfectionist that I am (sometimes), I am consulting three different texts to put together a savory pumpkin quiche. You might recall I made a quiche two years ago for Thanksgiving, and I think it’s a great vegetarian option. This year, I’m going to riff on that recipe, but the filling will combine caramelized onions and some savory, Frenchy seasonings with a rich custard made with pumpkin puree. The pumpkin is inspired by an old Vegetarian Times recipe. For the crust, I’m using Melissa Clark’s Perfect Pie Crust from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, and all I have to say is, Wow! That’s a lot of butter for one pie crust. Ten tablespoons for a single nine-inch pie crust is impressive.
This week, in the spirit of the holiday, I am reminding myself that despite what has been a legitimately terrible year, I still have much for which to be grateful. Family and friends with whom to share my holidays, a healthy body, a well-nurtured mind, a bike, some running shoes, money in the bank, two blogs, kind readers, a collection of thoughtfully curated kitchen gear, and the inner strength that comes from surviving the year from hell. I’ve been feeling a lot of sadness in the weeks leading up to this one, with Thanksgiving on Thursday and my 31st birthday on Saturday. But I think maybe, just maybe, the sadness is starting to give way to something more like a quiet contentment. It’s been a year of lessons and gifts, as Colleen Patrick-Goudreau might say. Lessons in love and letting go, gifts of compassion and gentleness. I won’t say that I’m grateful for 2012 (because it sucked), but I am grateful that I’m here, and so are you.
Happy Thanksgiving, my dears.