I spend a lot of time in my kitchen for my paid work and of course for my family. I always told myself I could never cook for others if I didn’t cook for my family as well. Just like most of you, we’re recovering from our days of Thanksgiving feasting. At the same time I’m in the middle of a recipe testing job. For the past four days traditional fall foods have collided with barbeque shrimp and codfish cakes.
Our Thanksgiving meal was tasty, plentiful and served buffet-style for the very first time. We gathered at my mom’s home and everyone brought a dish or two. Because the number of able-bodied food passers were out numbered by the very young and very old (who are unable to as nimbly pass hot bowls and platters of food) we made the decision to rely on a buffet set up for serving the meal. Early on, Mom accused us of trying to ruin her Thanksgiving. To her a buffet just didn’t seem genteel, proper, traditional. Nonetheless, we parted with tradition and served the food differently. Despite this, our menu was anything but non-traditional. In fact if was stuffed with all the favorite food that makes our Thanksgivings tick:
Mom did most of the heavy lifting. She prepared the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli salad, mincemeat pie and my personal favorite, sage dressing. Barbara assembled the scalloped oysters with a little help from a friend. Frances made fresh cranberry relish and a green bean saute. Anne always bakes a soft, custardy dish of corn pudding and several pumpkin pies. Eileen brought “goopy” salad (also known as Watergate Salad.) I brought the sweet potato casserole and homemade dinner rolls.
As I write, I smell bacon cooking and hear the best male cook I know whisking together flour and baking soda for pancakes. (I think I just heard him shake the buttermilk too.) Kitchens that feed families never really close, and in fact they never really get clean. In my kitchen there’s always a dab of flour on the floor, a fingerprint on the refrigerator, and a smear of something on the front of the stove. So why and I’m telling you this? If you feel like your kitchen has a revolving door and that the refrigerator door is only truly closed when the house is asleep, don’t despair. An active kitchen means people are being fed, nourished, and cared for. How bad can that be?
I sat down this morning and planned out how and when we’re going to bake our gingerbread house. I planned when I’m going to bake cookies and when I’m going to make my children’s teachers gifts. So you see, my kitchen never closes either, and if for some strange reason it is closed, I’m probably thinking about the next time I’ll be in there and what I’ll be cooking.