Cooking, Home and Family, Homemaking

Confessions of a reluctant cook

Thanksgiving is this week, and I am beginning to shudder when I step into my kitchen.  We have close to twenty guests this year, and the cooking begins today. Don’t get me wrong.  I love Thanksgiving.  And I really enjoy the traditional foods for the holiday; I just don’t necessarily love cooking.  When I find a way to simplify things, I do.  So how do I cook for twenty in bite-sized chunks (pun intended)?

  • If I can make it ahead of time, I will.  The next few days will include grinding flours for rolls and pie crusts, making refrigerator roll dough and pie dough (kept in the fridge until Thursday morning), peeling potatoes (and leaving them in water so they don’t brown), par-baking and slicing yams, and anything else I can think of getting done.
  • Pull it from storage.  I bottle, dehydrate, freeze, and cook in large batches-not because I love to do it, but because one day busy in the kitchen helps save me time the rest of the year.  Our apple pie filling will be from the batch of 25 quarts we bottled a few weeks ago.  The apple butter is from a batch of 36 pints we put up in a couple of hours.  The corn is from my garden via the freezer.  Ditto on the peas.  Wassail will also come from the juice in 2 quart bottles downstairs.
  • Assign some things to others who are coming, or enlist the help of those who are at the house.  Working together helps the meal come together more quickly, and is definitely more fun!  (I claim the titles of Mother, Keeper of the Hearth, and a few others, but I am not a serving girl, servant, or hired help.  The Little Red Hen is one of my favorite stories after all!)
  • Smile.  Enjoy the wonderful smells in the house.  Anticipate the meal, and the yummy creations to follow in the next few days.  Enjoy the spirit of the season!

While I may not love cooking, the time with family and friends is precious.  The peace that comes with a grateful heart is needed and cherished.  And food feeds not just our bodies; it also feeds our souls!

Home and Family, Homemaking, Homeschooling

Is it really Thanksgiving next week?

I realize that I am behind in most aspects of my life (in a pretty massive way), but how on earth did it get to be the 19th of November without me noticing?!  I love this time of year, and our whole family works to savor each day and the feelings that come as the holidays approach.  Somehow, this year I’ve missed it.  Between the flu, my father-in-law’s death, the government shut-down, a bit of quick travel, and such, I lost focus.  I am reclaiming it.

Time to begin to savor.  I love Thanksgiving!  I love the weather this time of year.  I love the colors.  I love looking in the food room and knowing that my family is provided for as canning and case lot season comes to a close.  I absolutely love that the calendar gives me an annual reminder to count my blessings, and work on developing a grateful heart!

So here a list of the books I enjoy reading with my children and grandchildren at this time of year so that we can all focus on how blessed we are, and what the real meaning of”Turkey Day” is:

  • It’s Time for Thanksgiving by Elizabeth Hough Sechrist and Janette Woolsey
  • The Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern
  • Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation my Diane Stanley
  • Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters
  • Eating the plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners by Lucille Recht Penner
  • If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern
  • The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daughtery
  • Stranded at Plimoth Plantation 1626 by Gary Bowen
  • any scriptures dealing with gratitude, miracles, and a change of heart

We also sing hymns around the piano, and keep a daily list of our blessings.  The fact that Thanksgiving comes just before Christmas is a great opportunity for me to recognize how blessed I am as I begin to plan to celebrate the the birth of our King!

I hope you and yours has a blessed and happy November, and that your preparations for the coming days are filled with love, good food, and the peaceful spirit only the Lord can send.

Time to go buy a turkey.