Friday, November 25, 2011

My Provincial Cooking

I'm thankful Thanksgiving only comes once a year. Twice a year would kill me. Of course there was the "little" wrinkle of the incident with the circular saw, but hey that just added to sport of it all. And, I am a big proponent of the holiday, trying to save it from being lost between Halloween and Christmas.

However, a frustrating twenty four hours of trying to prepare four fairly simple dishes made me question if it was really worth it. Yes, Cindy Lou, I may be the Grinch of Thanksgiving. After sampling my brownies, cranberry relish, and banana pudding my appetite was shot by the time we sat down for the big meal. 

I always pride myself on being a good cook, ok a damn good cook. I always try to go a little better than the everyday. Not crossing the line of "what the hell did you do to mess up this traditional dish" (example currents, raisins, and rosemary in the dressing), but I have set a pretty high standard for myself. If I bring a dish it is not going to be ordinary but still meet the traditional requisites while pushing the boundaries. For example, my collards that are extremely spicy (add three whole dried chilies), or my home made rolls (Sister Shubert's own recipe -thank you). 

Not that I'm the only good cook in the family. Trust me, no one walks away from the Thanksgiving table hungry. If they do, it's their own damn fault. This year we were all in the kitchen uncovering our dishes, finding trivets, and the appropriate serving utensils. It was almost a Norman Rockwell moment. Everything smelled so good. I had remembered to bring everything (I am famous for leaving one dish in my refrigerator when I leave the house.) My nephew said he hoped I had brought my "hot" collards he loved so. His wife was thrilled when she saw I brought banana pudding and my rolls are always a hit. Suddenly, the past twenty four hours may have been worth it.

Then my sister-in-law walked in the kitchen and there was a hush. I turned around to see her unwrapping a large platter with two huge colorful turkeys made out of fruit and chocolate. It looked like something a professional chef would have prepared as the centerpiece for the buffet at a big city hotel. She had used everything from apples to oranges to melon, grapes, blackberries, strawberries, and  white and dark chocolate to carefully pierce, intricately carve, and magically dip each piece to create this masterpiece. It was akin to a fruit version of an entry in the Rose Parade. Game, Set, Match.

I was in awe of the detail of this work of art and could only imagine the time it took. It was truly a thing of beauty and she deserved every accolade she got. Suddenly throwing together some homemade  brownies, cranberry relish, banana pudding, collards, and homemade rolls seemed so provincial. Thank God, I am old, slow, tired and no longer competitive. It would take me a while to come up with something to top that. And the best thing was, she made it because she enjoyed doing it and she wasn't trying to impress anyone.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

How do you know she wasn't trying to impress everyone?