Sunday Almanac: Thanksgiving 2021

a serene afternoon on the Cape Fear River

…in which I bake my first pie.

It’s true, gentle reader: I’ve made it this far in my life, which is to say a certain number of decades, without ever having baked a pie.

The Chef pointed out a pie crust is not so far removed from the biscuits I bake every single weekend. Huh. I decided Thanksgiving was as good a time as any to give it a go. To be fair, I had help.

During my tenure in Vermont I became a King Arthur Flour adherent after swearing I’d never use anything except White Lily, which once upon a time was manufactured just a skosh north of downtown in my erstwhile home city of Knoxville, Tennessee. But the first three or so years I lived in Vermont, my place happened to be mere minutes away from King Arthur and I learned to love it. I used the pie crust recipe from their website to bake my apple pie, with Chef David supervising as I went along. We determined I have a Bad Attitude in the kitchen when it comes to anything that requires even the slightest amount of finesse, for example, determining when the butter in the dough has arrived at pea-sized.

do these look like peas to you?

Somehow I managed to bend the dough to my will. I used an old, old glass pie dish that belonged to my great-grandmother Gracie.

I used Granny Smith apples, with a generous amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, sugar of course, and at the end, tossed the whole business in maple syrup we brought with us from Vermont. Then came the pastry work, which I’d seen Chef do before and wanted to try. We cut maple leaves from the other section of the divided dough, scored them with a small knife to create the veins, and then egg washed each one before arranging them on top of the pie.

David’s maple leave cookie cutter has seen some action through the years
and then there was pie, and it was good

David and I were together, but alone for Thanksgiving. We each enjoyed plenty of phone calling and texting with our friends and family, though. For his part, Scout is rawther fond of Thanksgiving. So are we, but we’re mainly in it for the leftovers.

where there are good smells, there is bound to be dog
no fancy china for us this time, just our favorite everyday vessels

David sliced sweet potatoes into disks which he sautéed in hot oil and finished in the oven. At my request, he also made horseradish mashed potatoes. Elsewhere were the obligatory turkey and dressing, and some steamed asparagus. Nothing out of the ordinary, but more food than two humans and a begging canine can possibly polish off in fewer than several days. Leftovers, as I said.

Thanksgiving can also be tiring

The long weekend is ending chiefly as it began, with more baking, this time Christmas treats, which came out of the oven a little while ago and will soon go into the freezer.

I leave you with a pair of images I shot a couple of weeks ago of the sun setting over the Cape Fear River, and wish peace to one and all this season.

5 thoughts on “Sunday Almanac: Thanksgiving 2021

  1. I dropped my phone when I read this was your first pie. Congratulations- it was a stunning success. My very Southern Grandmother when teaching me the art of pie making and I made the same comment about “pea size”told me it referred to back-eyed peas. Made more sense than green peas. Loving your posts from your new home.


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