Today is the day before Thanksgiving in the United States. My daughter and son-in-law have traveled 5,000 miles to be here to celebrate with us, their first trip back to our home in almost three years. As a special bonus, we are having a snowstorm. Snow is not a featured weather form at their home in Honolulu!
We have been doing some of the prep work for feasting tomorrow. Beth and Larry have the dough for chocolate babka rising in the refrigerator. They wanted to make it for a festive breakfast to fuel the rest of the kitchen work tomorrow morning. The Indian pudding is baked, ready to re-heat tomorrow. The flavors blend and deepen overnight, so we always prepare it a day ahead. Ditto for the spiced cranberry orange relish.
One unexpected aspect of the day, besides the earlier than expected arrival of the snow, was my attendance at a funeral this morning. Wednesday morning is usually the meeting of the spirituality study group I facilitate at church, but I cancelled today so that we could participate in the funeral liturgy for Virginia, who was one of our former members.
Virginia was a fascinating woman. After serving in the W.A.V.E.S. during WWII, she had married a firefighter. When she was 36, he was killed in the line of duty and she raised eight children on her own. She was a librarian and an insightful thinker. She was in her 80s when I met her and I loved to hear her perspective on life and spirituality. She had served with the Catholic Worker movement with Dorothy Day and was one of the most joyful, insightful, service-oriented women I have ever met. She was 91 when she died on Sunday. Rest in peace, Virginia.
I thank God for the privilege of having experienced your witness of true service to God and neighbor.
November 13 is National Indian Pudding Day. Last year, I (belatedly) wrote and blogged a poem about Indian Pudding. This year, I am sharing an Indian Pudding poem that I wrote in response to a prompt in the fall session of the Binghamton Poetry Project. Will Indian Pudding poems become a tradition at Top of JC’s Mind or next year will I move on to pies? Stay tuned!
Aunt Gert’s Indian Pudding
– by Joanne Corey
Hand-written from the recipe box
with a molasses stain
in the right corner
Promised to my daughter
who will travel five-thousand miles
to be with us this Thanksgiving
Generations of family tradition
steaming and fragrant
with a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream
We just found out that our firstborn daughter and her husband will be visiting from Hawai’i for Thanksgiving week. This will be their first visit since Christmas 2011, when we were happy witnesses to a Christmas morning marriage proposal. To make this visit even better, our secondborn daughter will be home all that week on break from her first semester of graduate school. So, YAY! Thanksgiving with our daughters and son-in-law and the three grandparents will be soul-warming and prefect, even if the turkey is slow to cook or the pies don’t come out perfectly.
Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was use of ordinal numbers. Please join us! Details here: http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-september-2714/
Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions
National Indian Pudding Day was November 13. NPR did a piece about it: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/11/13/244983031/its-national-indian-pudding-day-heres-why-you-should-celebrate.
I had not previously realized that there was such a thing as a National Day for this purpose, but, as a New England native, I was certainly a fan of Indian pudding. We make a recipe that came to us from my husband’s Great-Aunt Gert. We aren’t sure from whom she received the recipe, but we know it is an old one.
I made it earlier this fall when I went out to visit my college roommate and her husband in Colorado. They had never had it before but enjoyed it. Today, we made a batch to have as part of our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. We like to make it the day before serving, as the molasses flavor intensifies after it has set for a day in the refrigerator and is then re-heated to serve with vanilla ice cream. Besides, given that the pudding needs to bake for two hours, it is impractical to do it along with the turkey, dressing, baked squash with apple, and onions that also are vying for oven space.
Here is (at least the first draft of) my poem in honor of Indian Pudding:
Making Aunt Gert’s Indian Pudding
The recipe calls for butter the size of an egg,
Conjuring the image of scooping butter
From the crock in the creamery,
Instead of slicing a few tablespoons
From a stick of Land ‘o Lakes.
Simple and New-England-frugal,
no spices are required,
That expense unnecessary
Due to the wonders of molasses,
Slow-baked and intensified.
The summer corn
Stored as meal and
The fresh milk from the cows
Meld to warm us in the chill of Thanksgiving,
Honoring our New England roots.