Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cooking and Reflecting

It's funny how your mind works, isn't it? Today is the day before Thanksgiving. My contribution to the family meal is manicotti. I made it with crepes rather than pasta. Suddenly, I found my eyes tearing up and I was missing my Dad. He's been gone for a long time. He would be 98 years old if he were alive and probably not happy about it at all. 

He was the principal cook in our family. It must be a genetic thing because he said his father did most of the cooking AND his grandfather. My brother and my son are both awesome cooks. Holiday dinners were huge in our family. 

There was almost always extended family although that shrunk a little as the years went by. There would be a big pot of "gravy" (yes it's GRAVY not sauce!) with meatballs, sausage, and a small roast beef or pork. Dad liked to get a BIG turkey. 

My mother thought it was a waste of money, but somehow it all got eaten. I have always liked the turkey the next day anyway. For me, I'd rather have the pasta! 

The New York Times had a great article complete with recipes that could be considered trademark dishes for every state. Pennsylvania got some kind of bacon. Seriously? I don't think so. NJ got manicotti. Must be the Sopranos influence! 

I have made it on and off over the years. Their recipe was more basic than mine. I filled my Le Creuset baking dish with fat rolled up crepes stuffed with ricotta, spinach and pecorino romano, covered them with my home made marinara sauce, sprinkled it with some more pecorino and baked it for a short time. Now the bechamel sauce fragrant with saffron and nutmeg has cooled. It's going over the manicotti. When we get to my brother's, I'll pop it in their oven. 

Tomorrow morning I'll be up bright and early to help register runners for the Y's annual Turkey Trot. I'm bringing the camera. Yes, it's going to be COLD and icy, but that's what boots, hats, mittens and warm coats are for, right? It promises to hit the 40's and be sunny tomorrow, so most of the ice and snow in our neck of the woods should hopefully be GONE. 

Yeah, it's gonna be a good Thanksgiving! 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! 

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