I say Harvest, because it’s that time of year. Thanksgiving, that annual Holiday wherein, depending how you look at it, Americans celebrate a)the first harvest of the Pilgrim fathers, or b) the beginning of the end for the Native population, is upon us.
Or rather, upon me.
Yup, I have once again inflicted upon myself the chore/joy/opportunity for self-aggrandisement that is cooking a big turkey dinner for nine people. I’m keeping it traditional this year, not really straying too far from my usual menu. In recent years I seem to have hit on a menu that goes down well, so I figure why fuss with it? I know I will never get my family to eat sweet potato, let alone squash, so I’ve long since given up. There may be a bit of light tweakage with my stuffing recipe, and perhaps the gravy will contain port rather than white wine, but that’s about as far as I’m wandering this year. I’ve also enlisted the assistance of my nephew, MC Nureyev this year. Having professed an interest in cookery, he is now on strict instrtuctions to come straight to my mother’s after school, wash his hands thoroughly, and begin peeling and chopping and stirring. I’m also putting him in sole charge of the sauteed green beans with garlic and hazelnuts. Supervised, of course.
Nope, the only culinary limb upon which I am teetering forth this year is dessert. I’ll be baking my usual pecan pie, but one pie is not enough for nine, and anyway one should always offer a choice at these events. So tomorrow (a day in advance in case it all goes horribly wrong) I am attempting my first butterscotch cream pie. This involves making a custard, which will be a first for me. I must confess to being somewhat wary of stirring hot cream into eggs without scrambling them, but I am hopfeul that this experiment won’t result in a) a sickly sweet ommelette, b) a store-bought dessert, or c) me running screaming from the kitchen and throwing myself in front of heavy traffic.
I also say Harvest, because I have spent this evening completing my mother’s US tax return. And is income tax not an annual harvest? An annual harvest of the most sinister variety? I’m doing it slightly late (but not before the final due date), but that’s only because it’s taken me months to steel my nerves for the experience. I did it for her last year so I know whereof I speak. I defy anyone out there to fill out a US tax form without winding up gibbering in a dark corner. It’s been a couple of hours since I finished, and it’s taken me the better part of a bottle of wine and an episode of I’M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE to calm down enough to post. Thank God I’m not baking tonight.
I also say Harvest, because if I hear of one more sci-fi or supernatural or really any kind of tv show ever using the word “harvest” again as a plot device, I shall begin a harvest of my own. I shall make it my business to roam the earth slaughtering all tv writers to make way for the new crop. Which could well be all you fan-fic writers out there. And you won’t use that hackneyed old plot idea, will you? Not if you want to live. I am of course referring to this week’s TORCHWOOD, which was possibly the worst piece of genre tv I have ever seen, and I’ve seen CLEOPATRA 2525. There was absolutely nothing redeeming about that hour’s worth of manure. There are those of you out there who adore the Barrowman, I know. And yes, he’s not exactly a trial for the eyes. But yeesh can he not act. (Personally, he doesn’t do much for me. I know too many stories about him involving sex toys, crash mats, and sex parties. You may wonder why on earth this would put me off, but I gotta tell ya, I need at least a bit of mystique in a man.) And have you ever seen less convincing guns? Gwen’s gun actually rattled in her hand at one point.
I should go harvest some sleep now. The cooking begins tomorrow. Wish me luck.