What Makes You Cry?

What makes you cry?

For me it’s some of the usual suspects: onions, weddings, funerals, my son’s music, my daughter’s dancing.

As of yesterday, it’s also Presidential inaugurations. Congratulations, Mr. President. We are with you.

Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Bread, Again

This post originally appeared on Wild Yeast on November 19, 2007. This year, Thanksgiving dinner will be at my sister’s house, and my niece will bake the cranberry bread. The sentiment, however, remains the same. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving With (As Always) Cranberry Bread

This is the bread I will be serving at Thanksgiving dinner this year. It is the same bread I made last year, and just about every year since I learned how to turn on the oven. It is the same bread you will see here next year if this blog is still around. It’s cranberry-nut bread, the recipe clipped from the back of a long-ago Ocean Spray bag.

The rest of the menu will be similarly well-worn: roast turkey with the same chestnut stuffing we’ve had since my husband and I shared our first Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, squash, creamed onions, apple pie, pumpkin pie.

I may vary the sweet potato treatment a bit from year to year. I add a brussels sprout or two if I the urge strikes me. I like to try new pumpkin pie recipes from time to time. But by and large, the menu is eminently simple and predictable.

This is not because I’m not an adventurous cook (although I’m the first to admit I’m not). It is because Thanksgiving dinner is not about the Cuisine, it’s about the Food. It’s about the familiar, abundant dishes you know will always be on your plate, year after year, dishes that come together to create what my husband calls “the perfect mouthful.” These are things that would be sorely missed if they weren’t on the table. This is food that tastes good without having to fuss with it. It’s food you know you can count on.

Now that I think about it, Thanksgiving dinner is a feast that’s a lot like the family I’ll be sharing it (whether physically or in spirit) with.

So no recipes today. The bread recipe is still on the back of the cranberry bag if you need it, but I suspect you don’t. Just make what you made last year.

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Google Eyes

The following open letter to Google may contain objectionable adult content. Reader discretion is advised.

Dear Google,

Thank you. You have lifted a veil from my eyes, and made me see what a truly loose woman I have apparently become.

When I discovered that not one, not two, but all of my photos are censored from Image Search with SafeSearch enabled, I admit I was baffled at first. All along I wanted this to be, and thought it was, a family blog. My mother reads it, and so do my kids. Now that I see, with your wise and perspicacious guidance, the lasciviousness I have so foolishly and publicly permitted myself to exhibit, I don’t know how I’ll be able to look them in the eye again. Never mind go to PTA meetings. And God help me if I ever decide to run for public office.

Like I said, I was baffled at first. But then, after a good night’s sleep (and I do mean sleep in the “not awake” sense, just to be clear), I sat down to take a look at my blog through fresh, objective eyes — through Google eyes, if you will — and I must say I was shocked at what I saw. The more I looked, the more lewdness I found. Oh, the shame!

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi

There’s a reason I don’t give dinner parties: I’m not a good cook. So I really can’t explain what possessed me to have a dinner party in honor of my husband’s birthday last year, especially since the guest list included a number of card-carrying gastronomes. Luckily, they are nice people too, and much too polite to do anything but dutifully eat the less-than-perfectly-done osso bucco that was put in front of them.

We did have some pretty good bread (because I do like to bake) and a perfectly serviceable salad (hard to screw that up) and a delicious pear cake for dessert (because I do like to bake), but I think the thing that really saved the meal was some little orange pillows of goodness and light. And believe me, no one was more surprised than I was that these sweet potato gnocchi turned out so well that people actually asked me for the recipe. I can’t remember the last time that’s happened with any non-baked thing I’ve made. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s never happened.

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It’s Blog Action Day, and I Voted

Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers of every persuasion are tasked with writing about a common issue. This year’s issue is Poverty.

There were quite a lot of things I thought about writing about. I thought about my patients, who are mostly poor and uninsured and often don’t take their medications because feeding their children is a higher priority than buying their blood pressure pills. I thought about organizations such as The Hunger Project, which is dedicated to sustainable strategies towards ending the chronic hunger and poverty that affects over 800 million people worldwide. I could have written about climate change, which exerts its largest effect upon the world’s poor and is the theme of this year’s Word Food Day (which is tomorrow). Or how about about the shame I feel that in my own country, one of the world’s wealthiest, more than one in ten people lives with hunger and poverty?

I decided to write about none of that and all of that at once: I decided to use this post to urge you to vote, because our vote is one of the most powerful weapons we have in the fight against poverty.

I won’t tell you who you should vote for, but I’ll tell you who I voted for for President (I mailed in my ballot last night, and I feel damned good about it).

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