It's only fair, of course: Anna and Robert have been with us the last two Thanksgivings, so it's definitely his mother's turn. Corinna's new in-laws have invited them and the girls. They've invited Greg, too, and we haven't heard from Sanela -- I think she must be having dinner with fellow Bosnian expats. Haven't heard from Rosemary. That's a little odd.
The new in-laws invited us, too. I like them a lot, and they are family now. But it has been something of a shock to give up Thanksgiving as I have known it for so many years: our dining room, so beautiful with the lovely old china and silver, all the faces around the table, Q at the head, carving the bird. To give up the excitement of shopping for it, the early rising to begin making the stuffing, the wonderful smells of cooking that build and tantalize throughout the day.
So somehow I can't bear to go and be part of someone else's crowd. Q and I will visit dear friends in Sag Harbor. It will be just the four of us. Her children are scattered around the country and she is used to not having them on Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to the rapport. To a walk on the beach. We are bringing some pies and some CDs. If I can persuade Q to part with them, we are also bringing some hydrangeas -- there are too many in our garden, and now is the time to transplant.
Everything changes. Absolutely everything. We build a hedge around our history with the liturgies of home, with special food, with the sweet sameness of each festival, but it slips away anyhow: you can't hold it.
But you can venture forward into the future with confidence that it will hold its own sweetness; there's more than one kind of sweet.
New Pumpkin Pecan Custards
Preheat over to 350 F.
1 cup Splenda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp powdered clove
Whisk again. Add
1 1-lb can plain pumpkin or 1-1/2c cups steamed fresh pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk (fat-free is fine)
and whisk again.
Butter (or spray with oil) eight custard cups or ramekins. On the bottom of each cup, arrange
Pecan halves (probably six or eight in each)
Divide pumpkin mixture evenly among the eight cups. Place in a baking pan and put in center of oven; add hot water to pan once it's in there to a depth of 1 inch, so that the custards are sitting in a water bath. Bake for about 25-35 minutes, until set: a knife blade stuck into the center of one of the cups comes out clean. Allow to cool and carefully go around edges of each cup with a thin knife blade; place a small plate on top of each cup, grasp the cup and plate together with your oppositional thumbs and fingers and invert the whole thing. Lift off the cup and there is the custard, standing tall and facing into its future, which does not promise to be a long one.
Delicious, and very low in carbohydrates and high in protein and antioxidants. And the nuts give it crunch, so you don't miss a crust.