Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fashing, fretting and baking !

It is a well known truism that everyone else seems to have a normal family, except for the person considering his or her own.  You know who you are.

I always say that every family has a crazy Aunt Sally or a nutty Uncle Harry.  And if you read many biographies, as I sometimes do, you soon realize that many families have a whole slew of oddballs.

As I heard someone say recently, "This is just getting to be crazy."

To which her companion archly replied, "Oh, we passed crazy quite a while ago."

Maybe you did, too.  Maybe your whole familial construct was a little off-kilter.  If so, fret not.  Or as the Scottish poet Robert Burns said, "Don't fash yourself."  Meaning don't fret about it.  It is actually fairly normal ... whatever that is.

Humor writer Patsy Clairmont wrote, "Normal is just a setting on your clothes dryer."

Well, don't I just wish someone had mentioned this to me about fifty years ago, before I spent so much energy "fashing myself" about how abnormal my own family was.

For example, my grandfather never cooked breakfast for my grandmother once in his entire life.  But he had a trio of pure bred hunting dogs, for which he would step lively on most mornings to cook them their favorite mash, and then humbly serve it to them out back in their kennel.

I mean, who does that?  Perhaps my arms-length attitude toward cooking is rooted in this memory.  I have long had a love/hate relationship with food and cooking.  Love to eat, hate to cook.  It is a dilemma.

Recently I read a book by John Ortberg entitled, Everybody's Normal, Till You Get to Know Them.

Well, hallelujah!

We can all relax - except for one thing.  The holidays are almost upon us.  Oh, rats.  And here I thought that I just about had this "it is okay that our situation isn't typical" thing handled.

The holidays, however, often bring out the worst in all of us, don't they?  Some of us are wont to go into fashing, fretting, baking overload.  You know who you are.       
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Sis likes pepper in her mashed potatoes.  Okay, so she can just pepper her portion after it is on her plate. Right? Oh no.  She stoutly maintains that the flavors do not blend enough, unless the pepper has been added at the same time you put in the butter, salt, and milk.

So then later Uncle Joe asks with indignation, "Who was the idiot that put pepper in these mashed potatoes?"

And so it goes. One year I experimented with white pepper, foolishly thinking Sis would get her pepper-fix and Judgmental Joe would never know the difference.

Clearly, I live in fantasy land.  Sis claimed there was no pepper in the potatoes, because she could not see it.  And Joe complained that a mysterious something in the potatoes had given him heartburn.

Sometimes you just cannot win for losing.

My mother-in-law loved giblets in her turkey stuffing.  Such "giblets" - for those who may not be so informed - included the chopped up liver of the turkey.  Yuuuccckk!

All I am going to say on that aberration is, thank goodness for Stove Top Stuffing.

Still, I naively thought that everyone liked chopped celery in the stuffing (or "dressing" if you prefer).  I was quickly made aware of the error of my thinking, when someone, could that have been my own son, asked what was the green, stringy stuff in the stuffing?

There is just no pleasing some folks.

And don't get me started on those who put cloves in their pumpkin pie recipe.  Cloves?  Really?  Yes, yes, I know many recipes do call for this.  I, however, would just as soon put mustard in the cranberry sauce.
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So 'tis the season of unlimited opportunities for comparisons.  Uhhh, nope. I refuse to play that game anymore. 

The few people who know me well, and still like me, are some of the sanest people I know.  Either that, or they must be as crazy as I am.

Well, at least we are comfortable with our own company.  The normal folks will just have to fend for themselves.
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Hope your Thanksgiving is filled with good people enjoying good food and one another's company. 

I try to be thankful every day of the year; but I am truly grateful that I do not have to cook to demonstrate gratitude too often. :) Happy Thanksgiving!   ~ Marsha

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