Thursday, November 24th
We spent all of today at home, for which I’m very thankful. It was blustery and mild, and the sun shone a lot. In the morning I straightened up the house and then worked on the new book for a while, then took a walk. I still have the sinus infection and am low on energy, so it wasn’t the long ramble I’d envisioned, but it still made me feel happy. When I got back I was ready to make a lemon meringue pie for supper.
Sallie climbed up on her couch near the pie-making enterprise. She seemed completely relaxed, lounging in classic Thanksgiving-day style.
Rick had lit a fire in the woodstove and each cat instantly claimed a nearby chair and became completely comatose, so they also seemed to be having a perfect Thanksgiving.
As for me, I puttered around getting out my pie-making tools, feeling cheerful. Our kitchen at home isn’t as complete or organized as at the diner, so I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed before I started. Having to go searching for something in the midst of thickening the filling is not a good idea, as I’ve learned from scorching more than one lemon pie.
Pretty soon I had everything: pie dish, eggs, lemons, bowls, butter, corn starch, sugar, measuring cup, grater, mixer, juicer. I was very excited about the juicer. I’ve had it for years, but have never used it because I do almost all of my baking in life at work, where there’s an industrial-sized electric juicer. This home-sized juicer was a gift from a friend. It’s old, red, and manual, and I’ve always loved it. Yesterday as I put things in a crate to haul home with me, I thought of it: the perfect solution to the problem of how to squeeze a lemon at home (a problem I didn’t think about until I was at the grocery buying corn starch and Margaret said, “You’re using real lemons–good for you!” and I suddenly realized I would’ve gotten home with my lemons but no easy way of getting the juice out of them.)
The juicer worked beautifully. I stopped stirring the sugar-corn starch-water mixture on the stove long enough to take a picture (and didn’t scorch the filling, a little miracle).
Everything was perfect: the red juicer, the yellow lemons, my happiness.
Eventually the gelatin thickened and I scooped half of it into a bowl of three slightly beaten egg yolks, then scraped all of that back into the original saucepan of gelatin, and brought it to a boil again. I felt very content, worrying only that the phone would ring and I’d be torn between answering it and probably ruining the pie, or ignoring it and feeling disappointed to have missed a holiday call from family or friends. The phone didn’t ring. The gelatin boiled again and I scooped it all into the pie shell I’d baked (and not burned in my picture-taking distraction, another small miracle).
Next I whipped the meringue and spread it over the pie and put it in the oven to brown. I took it out ten minutes later and felt a rush of satisfaction at how pretty it was.
When the pie came out, Rick put our dinner in the oven: a duck nestled in a roasting pa with carrots, potatoes, and foil-wrapped onions. When he took it out hours later, it looked beautiful and I exclaimed over it. “Take a picture,” he said, looking pleased, and I did.
We sat down with mason jars full of iced-down milk, ate too much, and talked about what we were thankful for this year. Lots of things, small and large. Our home, the novel, and good health (mostly) were high on the list. Also this day. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.