Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010: The End of Reggie

I have a confession to make. You probably knew already, but in case you didn't: We're a little bit nuts around here. Every year, Mr. Batty and I make a full-sized Thanksgiving dinner, just for the two of us. That's 10 hours or so in the kitchen, and another week or so to eat the leftovers. But it's a family tradition, and we're sticking with it.

Another part of the family tradition is watching the American Kennel Club dog show. This year, they were broadcasting the agility challenge, which was lots of fun to watch. Dogs running an obstacle course, looking all happy, it was great. What we didn't expect? The cats were fascinated -- and inspired. This is Morgana, intently staring at the TV, watching the dogs run.

Then, both cats started racing around the apartment, jumping over furniture, chasing each other, and generally behaving very much like the dogs on TV. It was the funniest thing. Not since the infamous Humming Bird Nature Show Incident have I seen them so riled.

In the meantime, Mr. Batty and I cooked dinner. The shopping list this year included "veggie broth" because I wanted to be able to eat some of the food too. Except... you can tell both my parents are in the medical field, I have terrible handwriting. Mr. Batty wanted to know what "Reggie broth" was. So, here he is. Meet Reggie the turkey breast! To slightly paraphrase a particularly silly line from Mystery Men: "Golden and crispy, this bird is history!"

Another part of the tradition: Mount Etna, the amazing erupting apple pie. I mean, look at the eruption! The reason for it is that you put 11 cups of apples into a regular-sized pie crust. No matter what I do, it always explodes. There are just too many apples to be contained. It's a mess every time -- and so much fun to watch.

I'm getting the hang of this, though. This year, my pie crust was all buttery and flaky. Maybe next year, we'll manage good-looking?
On the whole, though, dinner turned out very nice. Had to toss the mashed potatoes (PSA: when salting mashed potatoes, add a little bit of salt at a time, or you'll be sorry), but we had these cute little potatoes in the fridge. They worked just fine.

There is much to be thankful for. I like Thanksgiving because it invites us to think about the good things in our lives, whether a year was particularly good or particularly bad. And of course, there's food.

I hope everybody who celebrates had a great turkey day. I'm going to knit now. It's rainy out, and after last night's feast, I'm not quite ready to move around.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It's not a flashy holiday that makes people decorate their homes with elegant displays of lights, glitter, and greenery. It doesn't come with tacky front lawn displays of inflatable reindeer, light-up Santa Clauses, or, I swear I've actually seen this, inflatable Nativities. But I think it's important. And not just because of the food

Sure, I like food. OK, I like food a lot. That's why there are so many cookbooks on my shelf. Food tastes good. But what I like even more is preparing food together with people I love. When I was little, it was often my grandmother and me, with her doing most of the work and me "helping" to the best of my abilities. I was probably more of a hindrance, now that I think of it, but I have very fond memories of grinding nuts or drying the dishes while she stirred the batter and told me stories. It was magical. And at the end of the story, there was often a batter-covered spoon for me to lick -- nobody was concerned about Salmonella back then.

Now, it's Mr. Batty and me standing in the kitchen, preparing enough food to keep us fed for an entire week. It's so much fun, chopping vegetables and talking while the stuffing bakes and the pie crust has yet another accident. It never comes out quite right, but that doesn't matter. Really, none of it has to be perfect. It just has to... feel right.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

It's a Phase

Have you ever taken pictures of your knitting, only to realize that you seem to be going through some kind of phase? Maybe it's all red. Or every piece you've worked on in the past month has moss stitch in it. Or you've only been knitting socks. And the phase wasn't really a conscious choice.

I'm currently obsessed with cables. Everything I'm knitting, from socks to hats to sweaters, has cables in it. It wasn't until I wanted to take pictures of my WIPs that I noticed. Cables don't photograph well with flash -- or if they do, I haven't figured out how, and... it's all cables.

What knitting-related thing have you obsessed over in the past -- or are currently obsessing over? Now that I've noticed it in myself, I wonder what others have found irresistible.