My favorite day of the year is tomorrow and I am coming down with a cold. I’m at the kitchen table trying to clear the fog from my aching head while next to me steam is rising from a hot cup of tea with honey and lemon. Another dose of Sudafed waits for me until after I’ve eaten a piece of pumpkin bread. The baking and cooking is done – one apple pie, one pumpkin, cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread (2 loaves; one to eat now and one to share tomorrow) and pumpkin-corn bread. This is the holiday that kicks off the baking season for me and for so many others, I’m sure. I’m already thinking about Christmas cookies. January and February, I have determined, will be devoted to baking bread and making pizza crust.
Just this week I feel like I got over my fear (rather lack of self-confidence) when it comes to making pie crust. After reading a few books on Julia Child and then watching an old episode on PBS where she showed her viewers the French technique for buttery, flaky crust, I decided the reason why I like her so much is because she was clearly having fun baking and cooking. Even her recipes didn’t always come out perfect, but her belief was we become better cooks/bakers when we learn how to fix our mistakes. And she never apologized to her dinner guests when the meal hadn’t quite turned out as she had hoped.
With the official start of the holiday season, I propose we drop the word “perfect” from our vocabulary. Instead how about the “mindful” pie crust, cookie dough, bread dough etc. Rather than trying to achieve perfection, we give what we are working on our full attention. Use our hands to blend, to knead and to feel how the dough changes and to know when it’s ready…to know it in your bones.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!