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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

pie fest preview

15 November 2006

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, beckons. I feel I must make an academic disclaimer that I’m not celebrating the whole mythical feast between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans (or First Nations People, to be au courant), but rather the deeper meaning of a harvest festival, dedicated to sharing food with others, to celebrate the abundance of the season, and to begin to hunker down for the cold winter to come. What other holiday is so food-centric?

My Mom recently read an article where the writer’s family dubbed to holiday Pie Day, because of the profusion of pastry. Our family is no different. We usually have a ratio of 1 dessert for every 2 people. Chocolate pie for my brother (usually Grandma makes two), low-fat/low cholesterol pumpkin pie for Grandpa, classic Apple for all of us, and pecan, for those of us with serious nut-love and super-sweet teeth. The past 2 years my Aunt S and I both baked pecan pies, using different recipes. Sadly, she and her family will be spending the holiday with other family, and so we’ll only have one pecan pie. This year I plan on experimenting with Maple Bourbon Pecan. Yumm.

In preparation for the pecan pie, as well as to stock our proverbial larders/pantires/freezers (or in my case, borrowing space in my parents’ freezer), we have placed our annual order for pecans from Lamar Pecan and Peanut in Auburn, AL. 37 pounds! Are we obsessed or what? I anticipate the caramelly, buttery goodness of these jumbo pecans.

I’m also contemplating making green bean casserole, the mid-Western tradition, from scratch a la Martha Stewart. Then again, today’s NYTimes food section featured a simple recipe for crunchy green beans with ginger and garlic that might be an even nicer break from all the creamy softness of the other side dishes (which was exactly the writer’s point). So many decisions!

Also in The NYTimes today: an article on the growing popularity of buying food from small, local, and sustainably-run farms and families. I hope that these businesses continue to thrive and not be swayed by the allure of larger markets and more lavish profits, which has happened to many such farms as they’ve exploded on the food scene, only to be bought out by larger corporations. On the one hand, this can be seen as positive, as the organic mindset spreads, BUT, as the article carefully denotes, organic no longer means small, local, and sustainable. Monoculture organic agri-business is only marginally better than conventional agri-business...I could start a full-fledged impassioned argument here, but I'd rather dream of all the pies yet to come in one short week:)

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