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 like….hmmm….how 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.
- Back To Black – Amy Winehouse
- Tighten Up – The Black Keys
- Black Friday – Steely Dan
- Many Shades of Black – The Raconteurs
- Friday – The Cure
- Black Coffee In Bed – Squeeze
- Clap Your Hands – Black Eyed Peas
- Hard To Handle – Black Crowes
- Back In Black – AC/DC
- Iron Man – Black Sabbath
- Friday – Sly & Robbie
- Black or White – Michael Jackson
- Friday – J.J. Cale
- Black Betty – Ram Jam
- Black Betty – Tom Jones
- Black Slacks – Robert Gordon
- Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones
- My Style – Black Eyed Peas with Justin Timberlake
- Let’s Get It On – Jack Black
- Black Coffee – k.d. Lang
- Blackbird – Bobby McFerrin
- Blackbird – Dave Matthews Band
- Bye Bye Blackbird – Etta Jones
- That Old Black Magic – Ella Fitzgerald
- Black Magic – Santana
- Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden
- Black Hole – She & Him (aka Zooey Deschanel!)
- Friday – Joe Jackson
- Fu Manchu – Frank Black
- Black Friday – Megadeth
- Friday – Rebeca Black
Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She’s the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can’t imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.