Thanksgiving Diary

Usually, I have an entire week to cook and clean for Thanksgiving. This year, I seemed to have filled the empty days with other commmitments, and the weather gods did the rest…
Friday before: went to farmers’ market and did deliveries. Should have cooked and cleaned.
Saturday before: went to farmers’ market. It snowed. Terrifying drive home. Should have stayed home and cooked and cleaned.
Sunday before: interviewed possible apprentices.
Monday before: taught a cheesemaking class in Orono. Gone all day.
Tuesday before: Finally get started cleaning. Big storm moves in, power goes out, all cooking and cleaning comes to a halt.
Weds before: Power still out. Go to farmers’ market. Pick up turkey on the way home. Can’t cook or clean. Emergency fence repair. Had to borrow neighbor’s generator to milk the goats and pump water. Decision is made to relocate Thanksgiving to my sister’s house in Camden, where they do have power. Drive the turkey and the stuffing to Camden in the evening.
Thanksgiving Day: Had a dinner that couldn’t be beat, but I didn’t get to host it. Here’s what I couldn’t do this year: my cranberry sauce (bought some local instead), Sal’s special holiday squash (made plain instead), any pies (bought a local one instead).
How the mighty have fallen. I give thanks for sisters.

Butter Trials

My apprentice Jessie and I have been talking all week about the components that would go into a truly local Thanksgiving. I’ve realized that butter is one area that I need to Get Real Get Maine in… so we’ve been conducting butter trials all week. We found some at the Coop that’s made in Brooks, not too far away, as well as Kate’s butter from Old Orchard Beach. But our biggest triumph of the week is that we made butter on Friday! It was so easy — we bought two quarts of cream, put it in a gallon jar to ripen at room temp for the day, added a touch of MM starter at the beginning. When we got home from market, we took turns shaking the jar, wondering how long it would take, and all of a sudden, there was butter!!! We got 5 8-oz tubs out of two quarts of cream when we were all done. I don’t think it was exactly a pound, as it felt lighter than that, and the butter seemed slightly whipped. But the bottom line is that we did it, it was fun, it was delicious, and now we can wow our families with butter at Thanksgiving!

Now I just need to find those Maine nuts to replace the pecan pie….. I need a recipe for a nut pie with either sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds?