Thanksgiving is a great time of year. It reminds me of past Thanksgivings at my mom and dad’s house. When Lindsey was little, she loved baking and cooking and was always in the kitchen. She would often go over to my mom’s house, her Grandma Gwen’s, and spend hours cooking with grandma.
Lindsey would go to Grandma Gwen’s the day before Thanksgiving and they would bake pies and rolls together. She loved recipes and copied a large portion of her hand-written recipes from Grandma’s recipe box. Lindsey loved collecting and trying out new and different recipes. I still have some of her most used recipes, scribbled on bits and pieces of paper, stuffed in the canister on my counter. She would hide them there so she could have them for future use.
She would get the ingredients out and follow each recipe carefully. She loved to try new things. Last Thanksgiving, she was just re-cooperating from radiation and was still very skinny and frail. But, she was determined to make Jalapeño Poppers to share at Thanksgiving. It was something new she had tried before she got sick, and she was determined to get out of bed and come downstairs to the kitchen and bake. So Josh and I helped get the ingredients out and helped her make stuffed Jalapeño Poppers, a great tasting o’derve. She was laughing and giggling and it was so good to see her with energy and doing something she enjoyed. She was happy in the kitchen.
Cooking brought out her creativity and her playfulness. She was got feisty in the kitchen especially if anyone got in her way. And if someone did get in her way, she would start throwing food at someone and then it would all end in a playful food fight. She talked to herself while she was reading the recipes and following the instructions. She loved spices and the way cinnamon and nutmeg smelled. She loved bread, cookies and especially food in general. She just loved to eat. However, she hated clean-up. She would always leave some part of her mess for someone else to clean up, usually me.
In the kitchen, she always worked in a methodical way and was brave in attempting difficult recipes. She loved making Tomato Alfredo and used an original recipe from Kate’s Italian family recipes. Kate was her best friend and they would cook together often even after they were both married.
Lindsey’s specialties were German pancakes that you bake in the oven, crepes which we called Swedish pancakes, baking powder biscuits, muffins, Grandma’s rolls and apple pie. This Thanksgiving if Lindsey were still with us she would be at my house the day before thanksgiving, baking rolls and making apple pie for her dad. Yes, her dad is the reason that she practiced so hard with Grandma. She became our designated baker of the rolls and pies for our Thanksgiving dinners.
Now, the reason for this is because I have never been that interested in learning how to cook or bake. Oh, I’ve done enough throughout the years that we haven’t starved, but, my cooking and baking is downright embarrassing. Yes, now you know I cannot bake except chocolate chip cookies and rice krispie treats. If it wasn’t for Lindsey and my mom throughout the years, Todd would have been seriously deprived.
As a little boy, Lindsey’s dad, Todd, would beg his grandma to make him an apple pie every year for his birthday. It was all he ever wanted. Every year his own grandma would make him an apple pie. After we were married, he somehow got my mom to bake him an apple pie for his birthday. And when Grandma Gwen passed away in 2004, Lindsey took over making apple pie for her dad especially at Thanksgiving and his birthday in June.
We are having twenty five people for Thanksgiving at our house this year. I love setting the tables with the linens, the pretty dishes, goblets filled with red punch, candles, silverware, folded napkins and making sure there is a place for every guest. As I write this I am remembering that we will have one less setting at our table this year. And neither Lindsey nor Josh will be coming through the door. He will be at his parents for Thanksgiving and we will be missing Lindsey in the kitchen.
Of course, on that day everybody brings food and as everyone arrives, we will have the smell of turkey roasting in the oven, someone mashing the potatoes, the gravy simmering on the stove and Todd getting ready to carve the turkey. My sister-in-law will be bringing homemade rolls and everyone brings an assortment of delicious pies. Except this year, Lindsey’s pie won’t be getting any ooooo’s or ahhhhh’s at our Thanksgiving dinner. . .
But, there will be an apple pie sitting on the counter. . . I hope I can follow her recipe and that it turns out as good as her apple pie. This year I will bake an apple pie the day before Thanksgiving and pretend that I am spending time with her, and she will be there and we will both be laughing and she will help me follow the recipe. It will be a chance to spend time with her in the kitchen. I will remember all the funny things she would do and say. This apple pie will be in remembrance of Lindsey holding the space for her thanksgiving tradition and the apple pie will be for her dad.
Lindsey’s Apple Pie Recipe from Grandma Gwen
(Taken from Lindsey’s well worn recipe card in her own handwriting)
2 c. flour
1 c. butter (just a little less)
2 tsp. salt
7 Tbs. cold water
Fork in butter with flour and salt, fold in
Roll into 2 pie crusts.
6-7 thinly sliced apples
¾ cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons of butter
3/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons cornstarch water.
1 tbs. lemon juice
1/3 c. cold water
Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, water, butter, salt and lemon juice in mixing bowl with apples. Add cornstarch for thickening while baking. Mix ingredients and pour into pie crust. Use 2nd pie crust to top apple pie. Bake at 425 for 40 – 45 min.