Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Turkey, Pie (term of endearment)

Thanksgiving in June.

Why not? Christmas in July is very popular as a means to sell merchandise, because, astonishingly, people who are much better organized and generally smarter than you or me actually do begin holiday shopping then.

So why not Thanksgiving in June? I walked into my house yesterday evening, and the exotic perfume of cloves and ginger hung in the air and I exclaimed, "It smells like Thanksgiving in here!"

There can be no higher compliment to spring from my lips in praise of food. Thanksgiving is to me the ultimate feast with the ultimate spread (a belief established in childhood thanks to my mother's cooking), a glorious tradition that can make an American's heart thump in supreme gratitude and proud patriotism over their full belly as they watch football.

So when I walked in and smelled the aroma of my daughter's birthday pie - pumpkin, chosen over cake - I felt like Thanksgiving in June.

I had felt that way a week or so earlier, too, when cooking a chicken for my friend. The poultry seasoning, olive oil, onions and butter mingling in the hot oven brought back the ghost of November turkey. The smell just about drove my husband to steal the bird for his own consumption. Of course, my friend might strongly disagree with our praise of that entree after eating it; perhaps it turned out like the turkey I fed her and her family at Easter. That was also a smell-good bird that was as dry as its own bones, and I didn't even make gravy to save it from its poverty of texture.

And in the spirit of disclosure, shh...come closer...those Thanksgiving pies in June I made yesterday had charred pastry, because I forgot to turn down the oven mid-bake.

So maybe there's a reason we American cooks go into indentured service for just one day a year. The bird's unstable, the pies - especially the pastry - unpredictable. Then there's the rolls, the dressing, the sweet potatoes, the gravy and the green bean casserole to worry about, too. That kind of stress should be reserved for the third Thursday in November alone. We've earned our freedom for the rest of the year. I just wish I could manufacture the smell of all that rich, spicy food to permeate my home until the harvest feast comes round again. All guests would enter, breath deeply and exclaim in gratitude, "Ah, it smells like Thanksgiving in here!"


  1. Christmas in July is very popular here in Australia, mostly because we suffer from extreme Winter envy. I don't think we'll ever get over the fact that it's sweltering here on Christmas day.

    1. Hot on Christmas Day is a bummer. Americans still idealize the snowy Christmas scene no matter where in the country they live. We here in Arizona do feel a kind of kinship with Australians, though. We, too, have lots of sun, heat and desert.


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