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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cooking Again - Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone, Everywhere!

Here I am getting ready to cook again. Although I am alone and not expecting any company, it is always part of the routine to go out and find a "churkey," a turkey that is not much bigger than a chicken.  Into the oven it goes with the yams and the stuffing and all the parts that start coming together to fill the house with happy smells. To the left is NOT Thanksgiving dinner, but my 15-bean plus 1 crockpot of soup.

There is something very satisfying about cooking. Even when you are alone, there is a sense of cordiality, of civility, and of general good cheer.  It is a sort of nurturing too, something we all need to do these days to take care of ourselves.

Just as I am alone as Thanksgiving Day is just a couple of hours away, I am sure there are others of you who are alone this time of year and feeling that sense of not being connected with others.  My solution is to start cooking.  Cook everything you can muster up in your kitchen, and then take plates, muffins, bread or bowls to your neighbors, even if you have not met them. Even if you don't consider yourself a cook, you can go to the grocery store and find some ready made food or something like a can of biscuits that you just pop into the oven (you do have to open it and put the biscuits in the pan so there ARE a few steps to do). It will still smell good and be something you can take over to the neighbors. Tell them you wanted to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, give a good smile and then go home and get more plates, muffins, bread or bowls and find more folks who you can share with. We can never reach out enough to others. How many of you don't even know your neighbors?

Tomorrow morning I am baking an apple pie and taking it to a neighbor who is baking a turkey and the surrounding things to share with our neighbors, some of whom don't have much.  And a friend came down from the hills and brought me some homemade cranberry sauce and some treats for the fur creatures in my home.Another friend brought me some curried cheese spread and I have already eaten at least 1/3 of that, and she also brought some seasoned nuts which are truly unusual and delicious. It feels good to connect with others, even on this very simple level. There is definitely a feeling of being nurtured and comforted. Is there anyone among us who could not use a little comfort or nurturing?

I often wonder what our world would be like if we could all just sit down and share a meal together. It is definitely one of the things I like best about places like farmers' markets and swapmeets. People of all races, all belief systems and all cultures sit down together at long tables, all eating happily and sharing a few kind words as music from some musician who is also sharing his gifts plays. There is no hatred, and differences are for once forgotten. Everyone seems to be on the same level and it is the best thing I can imagine. Would there still be wars if everyone had a giant potluck and brought out their best foods to share? Anthropologists have recorded that primitive tribes held potlatches (the primitive version of the potluck) to help cement their relationships.with other tribes and within their own tribes. Perhaps we have created too complex a world where it is difficult to find common ground. The answers are right there in front of us on the table. The pumpkin photo on the right is by Tina Marie Rey, a dear friend. It is one of the photos in my pumpkin cookbook.

I wish for each and every one of you a day of peace and comfort and lots of good memories, wherever you may be.