Monday, November 19, 2018

Hyperbole and Cliche on the Eve Eve Eve of Thanksgiving

Yes, that's white flour you see in the basket, and it's bleached white flour and it's self-rising white flour. I'm fixing (like my Tennessee friends say) to make about ten dozen southern biscuits. Angel Biscuits. Our beloved Mary Moon provided me with a recipe. I'm also baking about ten thousand apple pies and about five thousand pumpkin cheesecakes. Hyperbole is the rule today. The apple pie is a pretty standard recipe that I've made a bazillion times, and the pumpkin cheesecake, the same. I've found that slicing the apples very thin -- like about 1/4 inch -- is the trick to ensure that the pie doesn't become a mushy mess, although mushy messes have their charms. You let the slices macerate in some lemon juice, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and salt first, and then you drain them and boil down the juices into a thick syrup that you then add cornstarch to and toss with the apples before adding them to the pie. You know the rest. The pumpkin cheesecake is a tad time-consuming and after being cooked must chill overnight in its springform pan before being un-molded, and the only trick I have for it is to use really good cream cheese because the cheap kind of cream cheese sometimes has a lot of water in it (kind of like cheap butter) so it's better to use the good stuff, if and when you can. Despite making ten thousand things, I remain a bit of a snob when it comes to baking and pastry. If you're a new reader, in another life I worked in fancy-schmancy kitchens in New York City under asshole chefs and learned all the finer things in pastry, before being thrust into the cruel world of childhood epilepsy when my infant daughter was diagnosed with it and so began The Seizure World which might be sort of like The Matrix (I have a limited understanding of the movie as I am decidedly not a fan of sci-fi) in that it's kind of a simulacrum of the world as most know it where tiny little mother minds™ are trapped and enslaved. Wait. That's the real world, too, isn't it?


Hyperbole aside, I have a hell of a lot of biscuits, apple pies and pumpkin cheesecakes to make over the next few days for my cottage business, Everyone Needs Cake.™ Because of that I have decided not to make Thanksgiving dinner this year, and both my sons (Henry comes home tomorrow night!), The Bird Photographer and I will be feeding the homeless on Skid Row Thanksgiving morning. Then we'll return home and eat pizza and pie.  It's just as well (it's also cliche day, apparently). We have much to be thankful for, and it isn't the origins of the country, to tell you the truth. Or the Pilgrims that set the tone for the rest of history, either.


  1. I wouldn't cook Thanksgiving dinner after all that baking either. I make a cheesecake with a bumbleberry coulis. OMG it's good if I do say so myself.

    And thank you for reminding to be thankful for all that I have. My head has been stuck up my ass for awhile now and I'm having my own little pity party about it. Have a wonderful visit with your son. Enjoy your pizza and pie.

    Thank you.

  2. Golly. I sure hope that recipe works for you. You're pastry chef enough to know what to do if it seems wonky. But it should be fine. I've made hundreds for different events and they were always received with delight.
    I think your plan for the day itself is a very, very fine one.

  3. It's getting harder and harder to get good cream cheese here - the original Philadelphia is all 'spreadable' and shiny and creamy and soft, unless I go to the cash and carry and get a huge tub that costs €15. But I got a tip re the watery ones - if you put some kitchen roll (kitchen towels) in your seive and let it drain in there for a bit. Soaks out the extra moisture and gives you a better texture!

  4. I'm impressed that you can find White Lily flour in L.A.!! I have to have it and/or Martha Washington imported from the south. Happy baking!!


  5. Bravo to you for being so industrious -- with an agenda like that I wouldn't want to make dinner either! And how great that you're all banding together to feed the homeless. That's definitely a way to make the holiday special.

  6. This post is laugh out loud funny! I concur (as though you required it) that your Thanksgiving Day plan is a solid one. We are having salmon. I am not particularly a fan of turkey, and our hosts aren't either. So screw it. Salmon with a fine Rose it is. The story is a big sham any ol' way. Good luck with your industrious cottage output. Wish I lived closer so I could purchase some goodies from you!

  7. I soooo admire your decision to do the day your way. Pizza and pie sounds amazing and so low stress. Apple pies they are a making and a baking over here, too, but nor by me. I already made my corn and cheese pies and will try to relax and take everything as it comes tomorrow. i feel my stress response spiking even as i say that. life is good. love love love.

  8. Your industrious enterprise of Pies and Biscuits is impressive, you'll have earned a laid back chill Thanksgiving eating whatever you please. And the feeding of the homeless of skid row... these are the acts of Service that make Holidays Special and meaningful! I worked Food Ministries for decades and the people we Served were always so appreciative, it was our honor to Serve them.



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