Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday and Mincemeat Saturday

My dad had the most ridiculous request for Thanksgiving this year. First of all, my mom declared that since she wanted to spend as much time as possible with the family, that we were going to order our Thanksgiving meal from a local market (which translates to "I don't really like to cook and I don't completely trust my oven"). This caused a slight rebellion, because one of the things my sweetheart and I really enjoy doing together is cooking. Last year (when my mother was in Portland at my sister's, nursing her back to health after a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery), Eddie and I decided to try our hand at roasting a turkey, and it was the. Best. Ever. So we were really looking forward to recreating that amazing meal again, but to keep the holiday peace, we agreed to allow mom to let someone else make the food, under one condition: we make the pies.

We'd already gotten a kickstart on family togetherness this week as the kids were out of school: family dinners at the dinner table all week long, family game night & family movie night. But everyone's favorite moment hands down was the 2012 Ing-Tompkins Apple Pie Bake-Off in preparation for our starring role as dessert chefs for the Thanksgiving meal. I won, by the way, with my Granny Smith-Golden Delicious Pie, probably because I snuck some triple sec into the pie filling. But Eddie, even though his Golden Delicious came in 2nd, still gets credit for making my crust, his mother's recipe.

Backing up, to the moment that we laid out our pie-making condition. My dad piped up, with a condition of his own. He said it was fine with him if we made the pies, but he didn't want a simple apple pie. Nope. My dad, always the difficult one, always the one with the weird taste buds, announced that if we were making pies, he wanted mincemeat. Frickin' mincemeat! I don't even know what that is!
I know the original, centuries old recipe for mincemeat involves venison. And I told him right away that this simply wasn't gonna happen. So he said he was fine with the more modern version of mincemeat, which isn't really meat. It's more do I put this? It's like chutney in a piecrust.

All week long Eddie has been trying to talk me out of it. "We'll make an apple pie, and he'll damn well like it," he said. But my dad is always griping about how nobody cares about taking care of his needs, so I decided Eddie could make an apple pie, and I'd make a mincemeat pie. The chutney version. So I found the Most Amazing Highest Rated Mincemeat Pie Recipe on the internet (which includes apples, raisins, figs, dried cherries, crystallized ginger, oranges, lemon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and thankfully, 1/2 cup of brandy - which leaves at least 1 1/2 cups left over for me). And I was up to the task. Until I saw, on Wednesday, that the mixture has to be prepared 3 days in advance. What the heck? I can't imagine what for! To ferment? That would be like my dad, to want a fermented pie for Thanksgiving.

So my dad will get his mincemeat pie, he just won't get it until Saturday.

In the meantime, here we are. Bellies full, dishes washed, fridge full of leftovers, what else is left to do but go camp out in the Best Buy parking lot in the rain to be first in line for a $179 flatscreen TV on Black Friday? Yeah, not gonna do that. I've never been a fan of Black Friday. I'm just not one of those folks who can brave the crowded parking lots and shoulder to shoulder shopping carts of a packed department store to snag a great deal on a present. It just sucks the holiday spirit right out of me. Besides, I'm not the type to get up at the crack of dawn in order to get to the stores early enough to even have a chance at getting one of those elusive deals. And I know I'm preaching to the choir when I tell this particular audience that more than ever, the most important way we can help our local economy to improve is to buy locally, from local enterpreneurs, instead of searching out the best deal on cheaply made products from overseas.

By the way, friends, please feel free to list some ideas for locally produced holiday gifts in the comments section below. I know you'll do me proud.

I know there'll be plenty of crowds out there supporting the greater economy  today (some stores, like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target even rolled the Black Friday clock back to Thursday night, the horror!), but as for me, I'll be hanging with the family, playing games, eating leftovers, watching a movie or two, and listening to music. Because we do a lot of that together as a family too. Just one more reason I love them all, and am thankful for Eddie, Jesse, Sophia and my mincemeat pie loving parents.

I suppose I could've done a playlist dedicated to pies, but today's mix is all about Black Friday. I thought it might be a difficult task at first, and was surprised to find that there's even a couple of songs titled Black Friday, like Steely Dan's. Even though I'm not a huge Megadeth fan, I had to include their song, simply for the name. Actually, I think it might be an appropriate tune to have in your earbuds during a Wal-Mart iPhone stampede. And I really can't think of any other playlist you will ever see me put together (except for perhaps the Worst Songs of All Time) that Rebecca Black's "Friday" fits perfectly into. You can thank me later for putting it at the end.

Black Friday by Valerie Ing-Miller on Grooveshark
  1. Back To Black - Amy Winehouse
  2. Tighten Up - The Black Keys
  3. Black Friday - Steely Dan
  4. Many Shades of Black - The Raconteurs
  5. Friday - The Cure
  6. Black Coffee In Bed - Squeeze
  7. Clap Your Hands - Black Eyed Peas
  8. Hard To Handle - Black Crowes
  9. Back In Black - AC/DC
  10. Iron Man - Black Sabbath
  11. Friday - Sly & Robbie
  12. Black or White - Michael Jackson
  13. Friday - J.J. Cale
  14. Black Betty - Ram Jam
  15. Black Betty - Tom Jones
  16. Black Slacks - Robert Gordon
  17. Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
  18. My Style - Black Eyed Peas with Justin Timberlake
  19. Let's Get It On - Jack Black
  20. Black Coffee - k.d. Lang
  21. Blackbird - Bobby McFerrin
  22. Blackbird - Dave Matthews Band
  23. Bye Bye Blackbird - Etta Jones
  24. That Old Black Magic - Ella Fitzgerald
  25. Black Magic - Santana
  26. Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
  27. Black Hole - She & Him (aka Zooey Deschanel!)
  28. Friday - Joe Jackson
  29. Fu Manchu - Frank Black
  30. Black Friday - Megadeth
  31. Friday - Rebeca Black

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