Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving November 23 2006

It's Thanksgiving morning. The sun is shining again after two straight days of rain. We put the laundry outside and we're making coffee. I plan to make a roasted chicken. Not that I couldn't get a turkey, but we just thought it would be too much just for the two of us. Cranberries? Forget it.

I made a pie last night that was a disaster. I didn't buy the right stuff for the pie crust (I have no rolling pin or desire to make it from scratch!!) and instead of the pasta frolla (essentially pie crust) I should have bought (that I used for the pie I made for Laura and Giorgio in Verona), I got instead, pasta sfoglia (flalky puff pastry). Those of you who bake will understand the difference and know why it just didn't work! I don't have a blender either or a mixer to make my pumpkin smooth so it was kind of lumpy and my oven doesn't have a gauge to select a temperature so it's kind of a guessing game as to how hot it really is. The thermometer on the outside definitely is not accurate so after 40 minutes the pie was still soupy. My crinkly piecrust edges had fallen into the soup and all I could do was turn the temperature knob up a little higher and wait a little longer. Fifty minutes into baking the puff pastry began to puff! From all sides - even from the middle!!! It was like Vesuvius erupting! I finally had to take it out for fear of burning the pastry but unsure the pie had set. We let it cool and then decided we should try a piece. Maybe we should let it cool some more. It's in the fridge now and we are hoping for the best later, after our turkey/chicken dinner. We'll keep you posted.

I'm planning to talk Bob into watching The Wizard of Oz with me later. It's always been a tradition for me - but usually I would get up early in the morning on Thanksgiving, get the turkey preparations started with the Thanksgiving Day parade on the TV. When the parade is over, I watch the movie. Bob sleeps through all of this normally. In Arizona, the parade festivities begin around 6am, broadcast live from New York and I love it. When I was a kid my Dad and my Uncle Fred would take us into the city to watch the parade while my Mom and Aunt Celeste did the cooking. A huge feast that always started with a big tray of lasagna and all the meats: meatballs, bracioli (thin-sliced beef, rolled up with spices and tied, pieces of pork, maybe a few sausages thrown in. That would be followed by the turkey. Which no one ate. Imagine. My mother would always say, "no one likes turkey." Which in later years would just crack us up! Of course we didn't eat the turkey! We were too stuffed ourselves from all the lasagna! We did however always like the turkey leftovers. Instead of the typical dressing, they made a meat stuffing we absolutely loved. Browned ground beef, with bits of salami or pepperoni, bits of hardboiled egg, all the spices they would normally put into a meatball mixture. The flavor that resulted from roasting it inside the turkey has to be tasted to be believed. They were terrible at the bread stuffing part and I never liked it until I tasted Bob's Mom's version. Which is what I make to this day. She really knew how to do bread stuffing. In fact the first Thanksgiving of our married life (37 years ago!) I was on the phone to her for help with the yams, the stuffing, how to put it all together. Hers seemed the most "American" to me and I wanted to do it the most traditional way. I think she started answering the phone "Turkey Hotline" but I may just be remembering the first time my sister made Thanksgiving Dinner and I imparted my mother-in-law's knowledge to her.

I'm feeling a bit homesick I think. Maybe it's being in a new place and still finding our way around. Because of the way we found this apartment, through an agent, we are still trying to meet out landlord, a busy guy who not only owns this apartment, but also a hotel and a ceramics shop and who knows what else, so we don't have that sense of someone looking out for us like we did with Rita and Sergio in Perugia, Elio and Giovanna in Marina di Ragusa in Sicily and most recently, with Laura and Giorgio in Verona. I'm grateful for Martine and Piero upstairs and I know if we need help with anything, that they will try their best. Maybe it's finally catching up to me since we have been away more than a year and a half now. Maybe it's the holiday season approaching. I am excited to see how they do it here, looking forward to seeing all the little cities decorated and lit up as they do with such abandon. But I am also missing my family, my friends and the familiar. I won't miss all the advertising, the shopping, the craziness. Just the people. I'm thrilled that my sister and my nieces will be here with us for Christmas. I can't wait to see them!!

So, while you are eating your big turkey dinner today I hope you will think of us. Maybe we will be out on the beach, maybe putting our feet in the sea. Or maybe taking a drive looking out over the coast. And we'll be thinking of you and wishing you all good things and the happiest of holidays.

Rosemary and Bob

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