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Thinking Thanksgiving Food

Today may rain. I’ve got two peacefully playing girls in the living-room (F and a good friend), one baby in gigantic bouncer, and one cup of coffee. My goal for today is to have dinner made before walk-to-school time, and to think ahead for the Thanksgiving meal, which is not going to be elaborate this year (actually, I’ve never roasted a turkey; maybe next year). We’re going to thaw two of Nina’s chickens instead, and roast those. Probably for Saturday evening, when Kevin’s family will be visiting. I’ve got loads of potatoes and squash (CSA), and have ordered yams through Nina. We do have pumpkins for pie, but I’m not a great pie-maker. I’m good with the cobblers and crisps, the cakes and cookies. Not so much the pies, which actually runs contrary to my heritage. I associate Mennonites with pies. In any case, it won’t take much to turn all of this bounty into a feast. I think the preparation of this Thanksgiving feast takes on more significance when one is trying to eat locally. It seems like a goodbye feast, as well as a feast of gratitude for the harvest. Goodbye to summer’s abundance and variety. Welcome in a new season of more solemn, heartier eating.

Okay, girls need puzzle help, and baby needs attention, so this shall be as it is, and no more.

Tomato P.S.

Have to say that 1/4 bushel of romas, boiled into a sauce, filled four quart jars EXACTLY. I am not exaggerating. Don’t even know how that’s possible. Not a drop left over, and each jar filled with a 1/2 inch of headspace. (This is lazy woman tomato puree, by the way. I neither seeded nor skinned the tomatoes. Still, canning can’t get much more casual than this, and, frankly, it hasn’t felt like a hardship to do it, which is my general goal in life.)

With the four quarts of marinara from my neighbour (her husband was up till 3am babysitting the pot; and, it was actually five quarts, but one didn’t pop, so we ate it for supper tonight), that will make eight more quarts of tomato-substance on my shelf. Heck, we’d survive till at least Christmas, now, on what I’ve put up. Maybe.

Rainy Afternoon

Today is all about staying ahead of the curve. Is that the right phrase? That sounds like baseball. Okay, today is all about dashing madly ahead of the giant pursuing wave about to come crashing down on my head. I’ve ordered a last bushel of tomatoes, may the saints preserve me. Or may they preserve those tomatoes on my behalf. Actually, this could be fun. I’m trying something new, and will attempt to can these tomatoes with a neighbour friend tonight. In fact, it was her idea, and we’ll be using her kitchen. I believe we’re planning to turn these romas into a pleasant marinara. It will be a scramble getting over there by 8pm, which is my goal. The big kids start their music class at the Beckett tonight, at 6pm, so I’m in the midst of cooking a tomato sauce (yes, more tomatoes) for supper tonight–I’m planning a tortilla lasagne, using leftover black beans, rice, hamburger, this sauce, and piles of cheese. And tortillas as the “noodles.” Generally speaking, this meal is a huge hit. And I can slap it together and toss it in the oven as soon as we walk in the door from school, and it will be ready to eat by 5, which is my goal.

Okay, baby CJ has just spent a good half an hour in his gigantic bouncer thing and is starting to sound a little, er, resentful. But the morning’s dishes are done, and this sauce is nearly done, and I’ve gotten to blog, in addition to staring blankly about at various things that need doing. This floor is … well, it’s almost beyond what my (admittedly low) standards can tolerate. And yet, here I am, not scrubbing it. Watch me as I continue to not scrub it for days–weeks?–to come.

Tomatoes!

The tomatoes are coming! The tomatoes are coming!

Just got a call from someone who coordinates our CSA box to warn us that tomorrow we have two bushels of tomatoes arriving. Last year I got the skins off and froze masses of tomatoes, but this year we’re already running low on freezer space. I’ve got the jars and the lids and the canner out of the basement, but the question is will I have to fortitude to attempt to can these tomatoes? While we’re in the midst of repainting our kitchen?? I’ve heard that it’s easy. I haven’t canned since three summers ago when I went feverish in the kitchen with pickles and pickle relish in the 48 hours before giving birth to F, who was fifteen days early. It wasn’t an experience I enjoyed hugely. The chopping, the boiling water, the steam, the heat, the work.

But I’m bouyed by my friend Nina’s report that she canned 7 quarts of peaches with children underfoot in about two hours.

I will report back …

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