Posted by: jeannineatkins | November 26, 2008

Day before Thanksgiving

This morning frost coats the lawn and sparkles, as much as it can without sun, on branches. I sent a desperate IM to one of my daughter’s old friends who goes to UMass begging for help cleaning, and Nell agreed to come spend a few hours and earn some Christmas money. My husband tackled the stovetop and counters last night, so I can get going on pumpkin rolls and cranberry bread. My niece was here on a recent Thanksgiving and just popped the cranberries into the batter without slicing them in half as I’ve done for years. I was dubious, but the cranberries just squished perfectly into the baked loaves. I’m using that technique.

I’ve got a plush turkey by my elbow my cousin sent. My husband thought it looked more like an ostrich. When I asked my cousin, she said, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.” It’s kind of a family motto. My cousin’s daughter and boyfriend will visit from New York, and I know Rachel might have a bit of a novel she’s writing with her, or one of the beautiful journals she’s carried for years in cotton bags. Her mom is a librarian, and her grandmother, now in her eighties, told me she’s been writing her memoirs since she was fifteen. Apparently there’s a fashion gene in the family, too, because this woman, my aunt, recently told me she’d wanted to design dresses, then met her husband in a life drawing class taught by a man who wore a red beret. After they got married and had four kids, that particular ambition went away.

I’ll clean, cook, and write today, too, looking out at the gray sky and winterberry and branches that manage to sparkle just a bit. I’ve got quite a nice stack of books, too. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Emily, I love you and we’ll miss you. We’ll have a nice Thanksgiving for you next month.



  1. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, Jeannine. I’ll have to use that line: “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

  2. Mmm, I can just smell the pumpkin rolls and cranberry bread!
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Jeannine.

  3. Jama, yes, a most useful line, especially when spoken with absolute confidence.
    Have a lovely Thanksgiving, too! A friend is bringing soup — I love a surprise!

  4. Yes, I seem to be all about the carbs! My inlaws are bringing the turkey.
    Hope your Thanksgiving is fun with just enough quiet.

  5. No cutting in half? Really? *wonders whether to try it with the cranberry bread*

  6. Go for it, Kelly! I was skeptical, too, but not about to say no to anything to a young woman helping in the kitchen. The cranberries seem hard, but there’s a lot of water in them, and they squish just enough, I think. It’s a slightly different texture, but no one has put down a slice.
    And yesterday I bought my medium crock pot and pumpkin. I’ll see if my other niece wants to try making pumpkin butter! I’m quite excited.

  7. Writing and cooking – I’ll have to get into that grove. One day. Sounds like you’re busy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Lots of good words can be found in that cranberry bread.

  8. Don’t confuse me with the facts. LOL! I love that. 🙂
    Have a great Thanksgiving. I’m sure it’s hard, being the first one without your daughter, but I bet she calls!

  9. Writing, cooking — it’s the cleaning I could do without, and mostly do! Enjoy your day with family!

  10. I think that line may originate not from my cousin, but Mark Twain or someone. I guess we could google it, but .. it is of good use.
    Happy Thanksgiving — I’m putting clementine slices and almonds in my salad, and will think of you.
    Yes, calling is good!

  11. If you’re leery, you could always try cutting half.
    I just made this and remembered I like it better, actually, when the cranberries are frozen, then tossed in. It comes out moister. Of course I did get a bit distracted at the take-me-out-of-the-oven time, which didn’t help.
    Happy thanksgiving. Cranberries rule (last week I put some in pumpkin bread, which was a hit.)

  12. My cranberry bread is baking right now. It’s always plenty moist based on my great-grandmother’s trick: first, we use Crisco shortening; second, we melt it, rather than simply cut it in.
    And I opted to cut them in half. To cut 2 cups (for 2 loaves) took under 7 minutes (I know because of the timer for the pumpkin pie, which needed to be turned down after the first 15 mins were up). I’m glad I did, because as I sat there, catching cranberries and slicing them in half, two at a time (three on very rare occasions), I remembered being eight, and doing this very same thing, back when my grandmothers (and my great-grandmother) were all still there, checking on my progress (and on how pink my fingertips got from the berries, which seems to me to have been much pinker in days gone by).

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