Its genetic. Given the choice of pie or cake, I am picking pie every time. I think it goes by the same inherent disposition corollary as favoring cats or dogs. I fall on the dog side of that one. Now, I do like cats. At one point I had three of them at once, until the earthquake of ’94 in Los Angeles, and one of them ran off to join a little kitty gang somewhere. I still envision her hanging seductively with her other cat friends smoking cigarettes on the corner. She was always brash and tough and was happiest roaming. I’ll have to tell you about that earthquake sometime, nothing like being woken up at 4.30am by being bounced off your bed. Except of course being woken by your dog at 11.30 to escape a Fire, but I’m not bitter. After all, its Thanksgiving, and the word of the day is Grateful. Well, Thankful really, but I prefer Grateful. Thankful always looks like it is missing an L to me, so I don’t really like using it in written form. Could be a sign that I am becoming quirky. Quick, bring me a cane and get off my lawn.
Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. It probably goes back to being an only child, and being forced to dress up and then sit at the dining room table in uncomfortable chairs with just my parents and eat my mother’s cooking. Bless her, Mom does lots of things very well, but she’s just not a cook. Thanksgiving does allow me to bake, so that mitigates my ambivalence. I love baking and can claim it as something I do very well. My German grandmother taught me how to bake according to how things LOOKED. We didn’t measure much, it was a handful of this, a pinch of that, mix it up, doesn’t look crumbly enough, add more butter. When in doubt, adding more butter works for lots of things in cooking, in my opinion. I use Earth Balance on ordinary days as I cave to aging and modify what I eat. It’s not bad, but when it comes to baking, its butter all the way. Maybe Crisco in certain recipes but I won’t tell you when I am using it – please just enjoy that warm cookie I gave you.
I bake a mean pumpkin pie, with lots of extra spice to it. I don’t care for the look of pumpkin pie that’s too yellow, so mine get extra nutmeg and cinnamon and I serve it at room temperature with freshly made whipped cream with a bit of vanilla whipped into it. My favorite pie is Apple. I make the crust for it with sugar, so it caramelizes a bit. I like making the designs on top; a lattice, or dough cut out to look like leaves. I don’t bastardize my apple pie with ice cream or cheese on it, but I recognize your right to do so if you wish. I also eat that pie at room temperature. That could be an Iowa thing, I’ll check with my relatives and get back to you.
I decided to go a little lighter this year with my apple offering, and am making an apple crisp. This recipe was given to me by my friend Kathy who lives in Johnson City TN. She is one of those slender foodie chicks who always has an amazing recipe for something, and this one is no exception. It’s super easy to make, and we like to pop it in the oven just as the turkey is coming out so the aroma of cinnamon and apples waft through the house as we eat our turkey and side dishes and try not to judge each other too hard or fall into the inevitable mine pit of long-held tongues loosened by booze. Oh well, at least there will be pie. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and please know I am truly Grateful for each of you.
8×8 pan, buttered
4 apples, diced (any apple will do)
½ cup flour
¾ cup oatmeal (its ½ cup in original recipe, but I like oatmeal)
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
Cinnamon and Nutmeg to taste, I recommend a heavy hand with the cinnamon
Oven at 375. Put your diced apples in the pan, mix up the rest, and dump on top. Bake about 30 minutes. You’ll know when its done. It’s great with fresh whipped cream on it or just by itself.