Posted tagged ‘steamed windows’

“Fine old Christmas, with the snowy hair and ruddy face, had done his duty that year in the noblest fashion, and had set off his rich gifts of warmth and color with all the heightening contrast of frost and snow.”

December 16, 2016

Outside looks lovely from the window. I see sun, a blue sky, and only a slight breeze, but all of those are deceiving. Cold, freezing cold, is today’s weather. Wear layers is what we’re being told. I’m thinking 6 or 7 layers may not be enough. It is 14˚, and today’s high will be 19˚. Tomorrow and Sunday will be warm but rainy. It could reach 60˚ on Sunday. Mother Nature is indecisive.

My house is mostly decorated. The tree could use a few more ornaments so I’ll add that to my to-do list. My fake scrub pine has a dead set of lights so I’ll have to replace it. Friends are coming to dinner. The menu is set but I need to get dessert and some cheese. I have sort of a casual flow chart on cooking the meal. We’re having pork tenderloin, honeyed carrots and baby potatoes with romano cheese.

My family calls it the Christmas bug. It all started with my grandmother, the one who had eight kids. My mother, my Aunt Bunny and my Uncle Jack were bitten. Their houses were filled with Christmas. They baked and they kept baking. They loved to shop for presents. They always chose the best gifts. Many of my cousins were also bitten, as was I and my two sisters. We love all the hoopla of Christmas and traditions teem. The gingerbread house construction started 33 years ago and has now passed to a second generation. Pinatas, too, are on a second generation. I used to fill them for my niece and two nephews, and now,  their kids can’t wait for Christmas Eve and pinata whacking. Five pinatas hang from the high railing on the second floor.

When I was a kid, my mother’s kitchen always had steamed windows when she was cooking. It was a small kitchen, almost a galley kitchen. The table was by the window. It had four chairs, just enough for my parents and my brother and me. My sister was a baby in a highchair. I can still recall images of that house, one side of a duplex. The stairs had a landing where I used to sit and color or read. Upstairs was the bathroom and two bedrooms. This house had gotten too small with the birth of my sister, and we would be moving soon but only down the street. I don’t even remember moving.

“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.