Writing Prompt Wednesday

Doctor Blue GroverI know, I know, horrible human being, not giving the fans what they want. I wish to apologize to all four of you – I didn’t not deliberately neglect you. It’s been a bit nuts the past few weeks. I’ve had a lot on my mind, and I’ve not had the energy to deal with it all. It’s not all been bad – on Monday the 25th, I sat in a theater with several dozen other people and (re) watched the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. It was the third time I’d watched the whole thing (I fell asleep halfway through the 11 pm showing on Saturday). The people-watching was spectacular. There were a lot of fezzes and bowties, and a handful of really, really, ridiculously long scarves. There was a distinct lack of jelly babies, though…

The experience was great; the crowd was receptive, and most of us had already seen it. We knew what to expect. The energy, though, that’s what made it worth the extra money for me. It’s one thing to watch at home alone, or with a few friends; it’s another thing entirely to watch with a bunch of strangers dressed as Doctors and daleks, and scaring people with images of angel statues – it was wonderful. I did regret my lack of Doctor Who-related clothing, however. I’m going to have to do something about that. Twenty-one days to the Christmas special, when we say goodbye to Matt Smith, and hello to Peter Capaldi.

Thanksgiving was a non-event, which is fine by me. I can watch the parade if I want, and the dog show, I can eat what I want when I want. I made a lot of food. I learned that maybe next year, I’ll need to scale back a bit. Kidney function’s reached the point where the appetite starts to fall off a bit. Maybe by the time I get to the transplant stage, I’ll have lost enough weight to make the doctors happy. See? Not all bad.

I thought I’d go back to what started these Wednesday posts – the writing prompt. I chose one at random:* 

Writing Prompt 71 – Write about a memory related to a holiday

So many to choose from, and so few that sound particularly interesting. Since we just passed Thanksgiving, I suppose I’ll go with one of those. Or a few. Growing up, Thanksgiving was a small affair, just me, my brother, and my mother. My mother and I would spend all day in the kitchen, making the turkey and stuffing, her teaching me how to make stock.ˆ Every year, we would make two pies. One fruit, and one sweet potato. Not quite sure how that started, but I love sweet potato pie, so that became required for every Thanksgiving. Now I make two (because that’s how the recipe works out) and give most of it away. I like making it, but I can’t eat it all.

Mom hated to cook. I think because she felt like she had to, instead of having the choice. It’s certainly not because she couldn’t – mom could cook. I learned from her, important things like what herbs go with what meats and vegetables, and how in most recipes, the measurements are just strong suggestions. Anything with yeast seems to require exactness, so I don’t do much with that. But I had some cookie recipes, and baking powder biscuit recipes that I was a little proud of. Even now, I go by smell moreso than measurements. I used to take a breakfast casserole to work on occasion. Nothing spectacular, just eggs, sausage, and hashbrowns, sprinkled with shredded cheese. And salt, pepper, sage, maybe some dill if I have some, and the cheese might be sharp cheddar, Monterrey jack, or maybe a 4-cheese Mexican or pizza blend. Never American – that’s just wrong. I like American cheese, it’s just not right for this. I’ve had people ask for my recipe. I can give them the ingredients; the measurements are a different matter altogether. I don’t even use the same number of eggs every time.

Slice of sweet potato pie with freshly-whipped cream
Slice of sweet potato pie with freshly-whipped cream

Right, so anyway, we got to the point where we usually made lemon meringue with the sweet potato pie. We’d experiment with the meringue, seeing if we could make little nests to fill. Never worked, but it was fun eating the mistakes. The sweet potato recipe we cobbled together from three different sources, and our own inventiveness. The recipe I use now won’t be found in any cookbook, even one I’ve written. Not that it matters, really – it’s not the same every time anyway. The recipe I take from the most calls for a couple tablespoons of rum. I prefer bourbon or, if I don’t have any, vanilla. As with everything except the milk,† salt, and sugar, my measurements fall into the ‘about this much’ category. I do actually use measuring spoons and cups; I just don’t worry so much about them being level.

For the past twenty years, I’ve been a turkey orphan. I have invitations, places I can go, but since they’re not my tradition, they don’t feel quite right. When I first moved to Colorado, we had a little turkey orphan gathering a few times. That was nice, I did enjoy that. But I also enjoyed a day when I didn’t have to talk to anyone or put on a bra. These things are important. Especially since I usually have to go back to work the next day. With the exception of this year, I usually get a lot done. This year was a bit more…challenging.

I only did the turkey orphan thing for a few years. Then I just did my own thing. The first perk, of course, is being able to have all the brown, crispy skin to yourself. Very important.

It’s also very important to me that I make something from those Thanksgivings, those times when everything was good, and it was okay to screw something up because we were experimenting. I have an awful lot of miserable memories from my childhood – and some things I don’t remember at all; I don’t think it’s so bad that I want to hang on to a good one.


*that I liked and felt like writing about.
ˆno, I still really don’t know how to do more than make turkey juice – but I’m good at it!
†more likely to be half and half, or even cream, than 2%


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