Posted tagged ‘Bell’s seasoning’

“I’ve just been bitten on the neck by a vampire… mosquito. Does that mean that when the night comes I will rise and be annoying?”

November 5, 2017

Outside is dark, damp and cloudy. A wind blows every now and then and adds to the misery of the day. My heat went on during the night. It must have been really cold as the thermostat is set at 65˚. Before I had pets, I used to keep it set at 62˚ at night, but that’s too cold for Gracie and Maddie. I found that out when I patted them. Their ears and their body fur were cold. That’s why the heat is higher.

Last night, Gracie was panting so much I kept waking up. I did the food, treat, water thing, and she still was panting and moving around. I finally fell asleep around four. When I woke up, Gracie was in the middle of the couch lying right beside me, and my legs were bent to accommodate her. It was another bad back this morning. She, of course, is now sleeping soundly. I am tempted to keep waking her up, but that’s a human response she wouldn’t understand. Besides, she’d just go to her crate and sleep, probably snore too just to drive me crazy.

Even though all the stores are now opened on Sunday just like every other day, I still have a bit of solemnity for the day probably leftover from when I was a kid. I don’t big time shop on Sundays, and I tend to stay close to home. I watch a little TV, usually football, and I often nap. I honor Sunday as a day of rest.

I was browsing through youtube the other night looking for something to watch. I noticed the film choice of Thousand Plane Raid. Seeing that zoomed me right back to Africa but to Niamey, Niger this time, not Ghana. It was Christmas vacation, and I was traveling with a couple of friends. The trip didn’t go as planned, but trips seldom do in Africa. The bus broke down twice. Each time, we had to wait for the driver’s assistant to hitch back to Ougadougou for parts. That put us way behind time so we had to stop for the night at a post office for which the bus carried mail. The night was freezing. It was harmattan time and we were closer to the desert than in Ghana. I had only a piece of cloth to keep me warm, and it didn’t. Anyway, by the time we got to Niamey, I had defrosted. We stayed at the Peace Corps hostel. In those days U.S. embassies showed movies on Saturday nights. We found out where and went to the screening. Yup, it was Thousand Plane Raid. You don’t need to know any more about the movie. The title is the whole plot. That night was the worst. The movie was shown in an open room of sorts with 4 low concrete walls and no screens.  I was eaten alive by mosquitos bigger than my hand. They mimicked the movie and dive bombed in groups to attack me. I think I left before the end of the movie, but I was so woozy from loss of blood my memories just blurred. I only remember the name of the move and the hordes of mosquitos.

“My favorite meal is turkey and mashed potatoes. I love Thanksgiving, it’s just my favorite. I can have Thanksgiving all year round.”

November 24, 2015

Today is a sunny day but not a warm, sunny day. Gracie’s ears are always cold when she comes back inside the house. There is hardly any breeze, and only the tips of the dead leaves on the smallest branches move. The summer sun warms us while today’s sun, the deep fall sun, only gives us light.

My hand is still swollen, but I am back to my two fingered typing. When I went to get the papers this morning, I walked gingerly on the brick walkway, the site of yesterday’s fall. All went well.

Just before Thanksgiving never had the excitement of just before Christmas. In school we colored turkeys and cut out construction paper turkey tails we’d later glue to our papers though a few usually ended up stuck to our fingers. I hadn’t ever seen a real turkey, just pictures of one. My turkeys came in a package and were usually frozen. My mother always bought a huge turkey which fed us endlessly after the holiday. She’d put it in the blue, enamel roasting pot then into the oven where it would cook for hours. She’d baste it with its own juices, and she’d sneak a bit of the stuffing, the crusty part sticking out of the turkey. My mother made the best stuffing. The secret, but not such a big secret here in New England, was the Bell’s seasoning, which my sister and I still use. It comes in a small yellow box with a turkey on the front and is a combination of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, and marjoram. My mother would cook the onion and celery in butter then pour it on the bread, add milk and finally the Bell’s. I used to try to sneak a bit of the seasoned bread before it even went into the bird. It was delicious.

The house on Thanksgiving smelled the best it ever smelled. Every time my mother opened the oven more of that aroma would spread into the air and fill all of our senses. The turkey, when it was finished, was a beautifully browned masterpiece. My father always carved. He’d ask us what we wanted. We always said the white meat. When I was much older, I realized the dark meat was the best, moist and tasty. My father always took a leg. He’d cut what he could then he’d pick up the leg and eat the rest of the meat. When he was done, the leg was stripped clean, only bones and cartilage were left on the plate.

“Don’t assume you’re always going to be understood. I wrote in a column that one should put a cup of liquid in the cavity of a turkey when roasting it. Someone wrote me that ‘the turkey tasted great, but the plastic cup melted.’ “

November 21, 2014

Today is downright cold. The sun is shining but the light is weak and muted. The pine tree limbs in the backyard are swaying from the wind as are the dead leaves still hanging off the ends of branches. I had an early appointment and was out of the house before nine. It was 31˚. Now it is a lovely 34˚, basking weather, almost deck weather.

Yesterday I was a whirlwind of activity. Not only did I finish my four errands, but I also swept the kitchen floor, cleaned the top of the stove, dusted and polished a couple of tables and changed my bed. I was exhausted.

When I woke up this morning, Gracie was in a ball right beside my head and between the two pillows. I figured she must have gotten cold during the night, and I was warmth.

I remember well Thanksgivings when I was a kid. For some reason my mother was always up with the birds as she used to say.  She’d get busy making the stuffing first. I can still see her using her hands to mix the bread chunks with the other ingredients including Bell’s seasoning. Even now, all these years later, one sniff of Bell’s brings back my mother and all the turkeys of her lifetime.  She’d finish the stuffing then put it in the bird. My mother used a giant roasting pan which just fit into the oven. It was oval and blue with white specks. She’d put the turkey and the turkey neck into the pan then the pan went into the oven though sometimes my dad did the oven as the pan was too heavy for my mother. At nine we’d settle in to watch the Macy’s parade. My mother put out tangerines, mixed nuts and M&M’s for our watching pleasure.

It didn’t take long for the wonderful aroma of turkey to spread about the house. My mother, still in the kitchen, would start on the vegetables. Always we had mashed potatoes. I think it is against the law not to have them on Thanksgiving. Creamed onions, canned asparagus for my dad, green bean casserole and later the squash casserole, our all time favorite, would be prepared in no particular order. Before the big day my mother had made the pies: apple, lemon meringue and one more, usually pumpkin or custard. With the left over crust she’d make the turds as my dad called them which always made us laugh. They were rolled dough with cinnamon and sugar in the middle which had been baked in the oven.

I remember the kitchen windows covered with steam from all the cooking, the aromas of the different dishes and how special the whole day seemed.

I put out mixed nuts and buy tangerines. I watch the parade. I make a pie and this year I figure I’ll make some turds. My dad would be happy.