Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Ready, Set, Go
It is two weeks before Thanksgiving and a polar freeze has come 'sweeping down the plains' along with that wind you hear so much about. I turned my little blue car into that chilly wind yesterday and headed back to the farm to make sure everything was ready for some serious winter weather. On the way through Crescent, a little town that straddles highway 74 north of OKC, I stopped into a hometown grocery that I like to support when I can. Thought I'd pick up a few supplies for the upcoming holiday cooking and winter in general.
Here are some of my staples: New baking soda and baking powder (just to be safe); pie stuffs for cherry and pumpkin, some Savory blends for soups, Sage and Savory and Bouquet Garni, plus the secret sauce ingredient..tomato powder; baking spice and cinnamon (the favorite child); new yeast for homemade bread; chipped beef for the biscuits and gravy some cold morning; chicken stock (until I get my own made); mulling spices for ambiance; winter squash; vanilla (cookies!); Jiffy cornbread mix (tonight I added some Capital Hill to the cornbread and YUM!); Y2K products (let the reader understand); and…..Do you see it there at the back right, staying out of the limelight, quiet and unassuming? Candied Orange Wedges, also known as "a Dotter family tradition".
I buy these orange taste treats only from Thanksgiving until Christmas. That's it. I buy them because they were my Mom's favorites and we had them during the holidays every year. They are a bright burst of sweet, intensely orange flavor in your mouth and they carry with them the equally sweet memory of my Mom and all our happy holidays together as a big noisy extended family. Everyone came: aunts and uncles, grandmas (there were no grandpas, sadly, after I was born), cousins, kids and grandkids. Those days the standard fare was quail, biscuits and gravy with all the sides and a relish plate. The decades have rolled past, the feast has undergone some changes, but still we gather together to count our blessings and remember everyone who is missing at the table.
Let the games begin. In my mind the holidays still and always will belong to my Mom because she was the heart of our family, the loving, laughing presence that held us all together. It is a tremendous sadness to me that she has missed meeting all of my grandchildren and now Able's beautiful Kari. Maybe she has met them, who knows? Maybe there is more of a connection between this life and the next than we can begin to understand. I'm going to believe there is. Exactly what that connection looks like remains a mystery, but I have to believe it exists. Why wouldn't it, when love is what connects us and love is stronger than death. Trust me on this one, love is stronger than death.