The first responsibility of a good food blogger to her readership is to post new recipes.
This creates a dilemma around the holidays, given that the cardinal rule of special occasion cooking is thus: NEVER try a new recipe the day before an event. So for Thanksgiving, I decided to bake three 'tried and tested' loaves, and to try only one new, but safe-ish pumpkin bread recipe as a compromise.
I made some of my foolproof buttery cornbread and sweet potato bread.
The pumpkin bread is in the foreground, and my easy molasses bread is strewn behind it.
I suppose that the Hollywood ending to my Thanksgiving tale of baking should be that my audience rolled on the floor in a cornbread-laced ecstasy.
But truly, my family has never 'done' Thanksgiving well. Thanksgiving is supposed to be this (overheard at my yoga studio): "I can't wait to have Aunt Tillie's stuffed mushrooms! I only get to eat them once a year!"
My Thanksgiving memories are more random. Getting a chocolate turkey-shaped lollypop after leaving my favorite restaurant with my mom, dad, and grandmother as a child (only my grandmother ordered turkey, which I attribute to her heavy smoking). I did, uncharacteristically order a traditional turkey dinner one year at another restaurant, the West End Manor (a darkly-lit Italian restaurant with red vinyl seats, Broadway tunes playing in the background, and smoky, from-scratch tomato sauce I couldn't appreciate at age seven). I didn't eat the turkey but I felt I had 'pulled one over on my mother' because the dinner contained sweet potatoes with marshmallows and real, crunchy cranberry sauce. Like eating s'mores and pie, even before dessert! Eating out was way cooler than going to my aunt's or uncle's, which meant mandatory turkey and weird, hard Pepperidge Farm cookies rather than pies baked on-premises at the restaurant.
I also remember wearing a crushed brown velvet dress that made me feel both seasonal and beautiful one year to Thanksgiving dinner, and finally learning how to 'latch-hook' a rug from a kit while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Of course, the rug's design was of a rainbow spiraling from a bright red heart. I am a child of the 80s, after all.
I did ride earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, and I firmly believe that every day one rides is a good day. So, while you won't get any traditional, perfect Thanksgiving memories on this blog, I can offer this recipe for
Of course, Thanksgiving is over and you may be pumpkin-ed out. But you can always bake a loaf for a quick breakfast before you camp out in front of a Wall-Mart. Or perhaps Wall Street, wherever your political proclivities may be. Like I said, it's a very forgiving recipe. Unlike the baker.
Although I am genuinely thankful that my problems are so minor and that my angst about my family is so mercifully trivial.
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large beaten eggs
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Oil or butter and flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans
2. Mix sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin and vanilla together. Sift flour, spices, salt, and baking powder. Spoon the dry mixture into the wet. Fold in nuts and raisins.
3. Bake for approximately 1 hour until a toothpick can be extracted clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pans.