Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving and Despair

For this one week, I'm going to try to put aside my post-election angst. Ever since that horrible Wednesday, I've been increasingly bewildered and angered by the news. Of course it's no surprise that Trump's political appointees support his agenda of enriching himself at the expense of the earth and the American people. Did you really think Trump was going to end corruption in Washington? You got played. But the news from the liberal side also has me in a tizzy: Ignore Trump's gross behavior, focus on his policies! Stay angry! Not normal! Hamilton! Ignore Hamilton, focus on Trump's $25 million settlement of the Trump University fraud case! Ivanka! Pence is worse than Trump! No he's not! Attend the Million Women March! Boycott the Million Women March!

Do you remember the prairie fire chapter in Little House in the Prairie? When Pa barely has time to plow a firebreak, and Ma and the little girls run around the property, beating out every small fire with wet gunny sacks? That's how I feel. Steve Bannon is one fire that needs to be beaten out. Myron Ebell is another. And Jeff Sessions, and all the rest. I don't know what to do or where to look and I feel totally helpless. Meanwhile, some of my relationships are on shaky ground because of political differences. The only thing that's keeping me going are the Obama-Biden memes.

But, for the first time in eight years, I do not have to work on the day before Thanksgiving. Last year, we had just installed a major upgrade to our software and I was on 24 hour call to support it over the holiday weekend. The year before, I was on day call and trapped in my cube until 5:00 pm. So the past two years were especially awful and I am so happy to have the day off. If you need me on Wednesday, I'll be cooking up a storm.

This year, I'm going to spatchcock the turkey, which I'm keen to try. The step when you use brute force to crush the breastbone?  I'm going to imagine it's Donald Trump's face. So that should be therapeutic. Indeed, I think I'll name this year's turkey Donald Trump. He will have an orange zest and aniseed rub and he'll be delicious.

The other exciting thing about Thanksgiving this year is that now we have Wegmans. I was actually a tiny bit tearful the first time I went to the new Charlottesville Wegmans, partly because of the intense wave of homesickness, and partly from the joy of having a piece of WNY here. When we first moved to Charlottesville, I was dismayed by the poor quality and limited selection at the local grocery stores. What do you mean I can't buy New York wine? What do you mean you've never heard of sponge candy? How am I supposed to make pie crust without lard? With Crisco, like some kind of barbarian? Why are all the apples so mealy and gross? Why are the onions so mushy? Why are there only five available pasta shapes? Why does no one in the south know how to run a deli? Since when is Labatt Blue "imported?" Why does all the cheese come from Wisconsin? WHY ARE THERE NO EGG BAGELS?  For the past eighteen years, every time we went home to Buffalo, I'd have to stuff the car with a year's supply of acini de pepe, Weber's horseradish mustard, a cooler full of Sahlen's hot dogs and other foods it's impossible to obtain here. But now, at last, I have Wegmans at my fingertips. Western New York, represent!

The last exciting thing about Thanksgiving this year is that I bought my "forever shelves" for pantry items. My kitchen simply doesn't have enough space for all our food - not even with the new plumbing pipe shelves that I built last year. I'd had my eye on the "French Shopkeeper's Shelves" in the Wisteria catalog, for years, but ultimately, decided they weren't right.

The shelves I considered and rejected - Via


Instead, I bought the "French Baker's Rack" from Restoration Hardware. A splurge, but these are the shelves I'll use forever. They were delivered early Saturday morning, and I had a glorious weekend reorganizing.

Old shelves - hand me down from my uncle
and still very serviceable. Hoping to sell them.
At first, I moved all the food from the old shelves to the china cabinet (another hand me down).
I put the china in the new shelves, but was unhappy with the arrangement.


Now, the china is back in the china cabinet and the food is on the new shelves.
Between the kitchen shelves for dry goods and spices, and these shelves for canned goods and other non-perishables, my food is finally easily accessible and organized.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And remember, if anyone in your family is especially hateful, you can make a donation to Planned Parenthood in their name.

16 comments:

  1. Lard has been available at Reid's for as long as I can remember. Although I tend to render my own from fat I've gotten free from local pig farmers. I haven't been over to the new Wegman's yet - it's definitely out of my usual path, so I don't see myself becoming a regular shopper, but I am interested in checking it out.
    Have a great day cooking. We're on the road that day. The final iteration of the shelves looks good.

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  2. I'm ready to declare where I work a politics-free discussion zone but my suggestions fall on deaf, angry ears. The Obama-Biden memes are such a relief.

    I love your new shelves (and your old china cabinet). I store canned goods and have a huge chest freezer in my basement and it's a pain making trips down there when I don't plan in advance.

    Wegmans is incredible in every way! The selection, the prices, the app that tells you exactly where everything is in the store and how much it costs. I'll never shop anywhere else.

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  3. I remember when Wegmans first came to Ithaca (up til then we had a pathetic IGA and one other store I can't remember the name of). A bunch of us who were transplants were all "What the heck is that?" A native upstate New Yorker set us straight: "Wegmans? You've never seen a Wegmans? I'm telling you, a woman and a Wegmans - that's all any man needs!"

    So that's what I remember EVERY SINGLE TIME I see a Wegmans.

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    1. LOL! A woman and a Wegmans. Considering their beer selection, I'd say that's about right.

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  4. Barack Obama and John Lewis said to stay calm. I'm trying, but you're right - there seem to be too many awful announcements each day.

    I do not plan to spatchcock my turkey, but I got a frisson of vicarious delight in knowing your plans.

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    1. Obama is a model of how to behave in these trying times.

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  5. I'm finding it difficult not to fall into despair over the news these days.

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    1. I'm considering a news fast, but then how will I know when Trump has himself crowned king?

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  6. Oh, your thoughts and fears are mine. That prairie fire analogy sums it up so well. Every store here sells only basic stuff, so you describe my shopping to a T. Enjoy your lovely day off in your kitchen pouring out love and frustration into your meal prep. I bet it will turn out DELICIOUS!

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  7. Oh, all the good cheese comes from Wisconsin. You knew that:)

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    1. There's definitely great cheese in WI, but only the blandest specimens end up in grocery stores in the rest of the country. I don't know why mainstream cheese makers think Americans are afraid of sharp cheese.

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    2. I once ate a cheddar that I bought in WI that was so sharp it made my tongue sore. That's how I like it!

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  8. Yes, the prairie fire... that's exactly how it feels. I'm exhausted from work (where I'm constantly having to think ahead by a week or a month, plus in present tense) and trying to be the good citizen I want to be -- all while dealing with family needs and pain (keeping busy helps until it doesn't). I'm a blue dot in a large swath of red.
    I bet you'll spatchcock the devil out of that turkey and it will be fabulous!

    As a west coast (sort of) resident, I thought good cheese came from Tillamook, OR. But I do know Wegmans a wee bit, since they built one about 30 minutes from us in NoVA when I still lived there.

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    1. Ha ha! I spatchcocked the hell out of it!

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  9. My heartfelt commiseration to all citizens of the USA who had to make the dire choice between Trump and Clinton.
    I do feel that the only reason Trump won (apart from the outrageous lies, probable bribes and pandering to the deepest fears of the uneducated and ignorant) was that the option was Hilary.

    I do like the shelves, but I always make my own.

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    1. Nice to see you, TSB. It's been a long time.

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