November 2013

Toni Morrison —
At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.
Milkweed 790 xxx
photos by george billard

11.27.13 Thanks & Links

Gratitude is one of the many ways we can lift ourselves up. In my quest for greater inner peace, I have come upon this notion of giving thanks regularly and often. As the German theologian and mystic Meister Echkart says, "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." So on a daily basis I try to say thanks for all the things I might otherwise take for granted: the clean air I breathe and the lungs that make it possible; the time to write and the hands with which I do it...start anywhere, the list is endless. I used to catalogue everything I had to do in a day first thing every morning. Sometimes it led to excitement, others to panic and despair. But it never brought me the same comfort and joy as when I lie in bed for a few moments upon waking and allow my mind to roam over all the blessings in my life. In this way, every day becomes Thanksgiving, at least for a little while.
W. J. Cameron —
Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.
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photos by gluttonforlife

11.22.13 Stuff & Nonsense

Stuffing. A topic as divisive as any discussion of religion or politics. You'll find it made with rice, with sourdough bread, with cornbread; studded with chestnuts, dried fruit and pecans; larded with sausage, oysters, gobs of butter. Some like it soft and steamed, emerging from the bird's cavity, while others insist on maximum crunch. It's a reflection of culture, tradition and personal preference, an opportunity for experimentation and self-expression. But, in the end, it's just stuffing. I make an alternate version with cornbread at our Thanksgiving so that my gluten-free husband can partake. In the past, I've added fresh cranberries, pecans and sausage for a sort of down-home version. This year, it's got the last kale from our garden and lots of chewy, flavorful mushrooms. Next year, who knows? Perhaps something with wild rice. And the beat goes on.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. —
Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.
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photos by gluttoforlife

11.19.13 Relish Every Day

Feast your eyes. Eat my words. Relish every day. I wrote these three phrases for a little promo I sent out for my blog some time back and they have stuck with me. I feel like they capture the spirit of it in a very succinct way. 

Can I tell you something? I'm a little sick of Thanksgiving already. Isn't that sad? The internet can do that to you. Suddenly everyone is yammering on about one topic. Which reminds me: you've got to read Dave Eggers' new novel, The Circle. We're actually listening to it, as read by the inimitable chameleon Dion Graham.

But I digress. I promised you a cranberry recipe and I will not let you down. In fact, I actually had a good time coming up with something rather unconventional. Yeah, I'm a bit of a rebel. I guess you know that by now. Or not. Anyway, read on to discover cranberry relish with outsider attitude.
William Butler Yeats —
Nothing but sweetness can remain when hearts are full of their own sweetness.
Bite 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

11.15.13 Say Cheesecake

Dessert is polarizing. Love it as I do, I fully empathize with the naysayers. After a full meal, who really needs more? But some would say a meal is not truly complete without it. And, like it or not, desserts are cultural touchstones. What traditional festivity is properly concluded without some elaborate confection? A grand dessert is a flight of fantasy, a sensual voyage, an affair to remember. It's a fitting ending to the type of meal that includes multiple courses, fine wine, great conversation and lots of lingering. I hope your Thanksgiving is like that. But if not (if instead it's full of screaming children and sniping in-laws and overcooked turkey), there will always be an opportunity—after your tryptophan-induced nap—to submerge your sorrows in a slice of something sinful. Every once in a while there's got to be a little devil in Miss Jones.
Frank Sinatra —
Orange is the happiest color.
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photos by gluttonforlife

11.12.13 Side With Me

The concept of side dishes is sort of an outdated one, left over from a time when the meat took center stage and the satellite vegetables were only supporting players. And though Thanksgiving is allegedly all about the turkey, we know that the side dishes are what's most exciting about the over-hyped meal. Right? If your traditional sides are starting to seem lackluster, or still belong to the Dark Ages of marshmallow fluff and canned fried onions, perhaps you'll let me tempt you with these simple but rather spectacular yams. As I mentioned earlier, they have snuck into our Thanksgiving rotation the past few years and I've heard no complaints. For one thing, they contain crispy bits of pancetta. For another, they are glazed with good olive oil and dark maple syrup and goosed with a nice kick of chile. And, yes, you can make them ahead of time.