The Gift of the Magi

Thank you all so much for your wonderful recipes and suggestions. I’m planning on making Melanie’s pancetta and green bean salad (I love pancetta, it’s even better than bacon in my estimation), Andrea’s cranberry sauce, Rebekah’s buttered rosemary rolls, and I’m taking Katy’s advice and making Deb from Smitten Kitchen’s pie crust. I have to admit, the last one takes a lot of faith; although I love Smitten Kitchen, for some reason only one of her recipes has ever worked out for me, so I’ve taken a haitus from cooking her food for a while. I’m hoping this one works, and of course I love and will be relying heavily upon the step-by-step photos. For the pumpkin filling I am turning to my battered copy of The Best Recipe for the filling I wanted, with no cream cheese or sour cream. Just pumpkin, eggs, heavy cream and all the requisite spices. Yum.

A few of you asked about the butternut squash I mentioned. It’s really not even a recipe, it’s just a very simple and delicious way to eat the squash. Cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds and membranes, and then set it cut side down in a buttered glass baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 350 until tender (about 1 hour). Meanwhile, melt equal parts honey (I use raw; it tastes much better and contains valuable enzymes that aid in digestion) and butter together in a pitcher or bowl set in hot water. To serve, place each half cut side up and fill the empty cavity with the honey-butter mixture. See? Simple, delicious, and a very pretty presentation.

And now, for the second post in a row, I come to you with a plea.

But before I get to the humbling part of the post, do you remember the story “The Gift of the Magi”? When I was a girl, that story had a profound effect on me. I remember being in awe of the sheer power of the love of those two. I thought that if I could find a love that strong, that powerful, no amount of poverty in the world could touch me. I would be filled with all the happiness and satisfaction that this meager world could offer, because LOVE! LOVE IS TRIUMPHANT!

I also thought that Romeo and Juliet was a beautiful story. I used to read it and weep, lamenting not the lovers’ fate but the cruel universe that had made me Calah instead of Juliet. I was silly and naive, it’s true, but at least where “The Gift of the Magi” is concerned, I was partially right. Love is that powerful; although I’ve now known a degree of poverty (at least as much poverty as one living in America today can know), I also know that the faces of my little children are worth the money we’ve spent on them. I know that the way the Ogre’s face lights up when he talks about Faulkner or Eliot or Joyce is not something I would trade. I would rather be scraping by with a husband who does what he loves, who tries to save the soul of our country one impertinent freshman mind at a time, than have a house and a backyard and a husband whose eyes have lost their spark.

Nevertheless, some times are harder than others, and December is always one of those times. With two birthdays and Christmas plus traveling expenses and only half a monthly paycheck, it’s rough every year. This year it’s a little worse. So, readers, once again I’m asking for a wee bit of help. The Ogre and I both do freelance editing, so if you happen to know anyone who needs anything at all edited (a term paper, thesis, dissertation, publication, even a fast-food menu) we’d be very grateful if you would point them in our direction. Please don’t be put off by my occasional split infinitive or failed parallelism; the Ogre checks all my work, and he’s a grammar Nazi. We charge a very reasonable rate and are willing to negotiate based on the project.

Please don’t feel obligated; a little word-of-mouth is what we’re looking for.

Thank you all, both for your wonderful Thanksgiving suggestions and for your patience as I beg from my blog. Tomorrow I promise I will get back to my regular posting, and instead of asking for anything, I’ll tell you another funny story about bodily fluids.