Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving and Excess

Next week we will celebrate the day when we fill our stomachs with our national bird, fill our heads with televised football, and now have more opportunities to fill our shopping bags with stuff. Some people might give thanks, but I suspect many won’t. It’s a day off for turkey, football and shopping.

Why will more stores be open on Thanksgiving Day? In my opinion, the answer is because a lot of people will go shopping, in person or online. Black Friday is becoming Black Thursday. I will be glad to be with my family even though one of my daughters will have to leave the festivities and go to work.

In this time of contrasts of plenteousness and less than enough for many, I am struck with the messages I receive from our culture. Not just turkey, football and shopping, but messages that we can have more. This comes home to me when I watch HGTV on television. I started to watch this channel after I bought my house in May. It gave me some ideas about how to make my small old house more up to date and beautiful even though I loved it already.

That’s the HGTV message. Whatever you live in, you can make it better. And what makes it better is renovating or buying your home. In this land of plenty, we can tear down some walls, put in new fireplaces and appliances, install lovely hardwood floors, or just buy them somewhere else. I am amazed at the purchase prices of some of the homes I see on this channel. I also am amazed at the sense of entitlement that is projected by the people who buy or renovate. They don’t settle for Adequate, they want the Newest. They complain about kitchens and bathrooms being outdated. They insist on open concept designs. They hate basement laundry rooms. They want million dollar ocean views. They might be thinking they can be Donald Trump and that it is okay to live like the Donald.

The land of promise is becoming the land of excess, at least for some people, but not for all. The other side of HGTV (not within HGTV’s scope) is inability to buy homes by people who struggle to make a living, not just beautiful homes but any homes. Does a low income person care about hardwood floors and trendy bathrooms? I think that person might be glad just to live somewhere.

I bought my new draperies from JC Penney and new living room carpet from Sergenians, but I did it because they were replacing old, worn draperies and carpeting. I bought them on days other than Thanksgiving. The old carpet and curtains were dated and damaged. That is different from spending excessive amounts of money on items that go far beyond adequacy or need. Yes, people can have a standard of living that does more than fill a need, but I see plenty of opportunities to curb some of the excess.

God has rained many blessings on us. So has the capitalist system. Thanksgiving Day might be improved by thanking God for our blessings and curbing the allure of the economic system for one day. I like HGTV as entertainment and suggestions for home improvement, but I am not enthralled about the underlying message.

Okay, folks. Let’s go to the store when we must. But let’s not do it on Thanksgiving Day. We can hold it at turkey and football.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pumpkin Pie - the Best

It’s the season for pumpkin. Store bought pumpkin pie tastes like straw compared to this, at least for people who like spices in their pie. I made it for the family many times. Easy to make. The hardest part (not very hard) is getting the unbaked pie into the oven without spilling the filling.

Pumpkin Pie

1 ½ cups cooked or canned pumpkin
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ to 1 teaspoon ginger (I use 1 teaspoon)
1 to 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (I use 1 ¼ teaspoon)
¼ to ½ teaspoon nutmeg (I use ½ teaspoon)
¼  to 1 teaspoon cloves (I use ¼ teaspoon)
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 ¼ cups milk
¾ cup evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
Pastry for 1 9-inch pie pan (bottom crust only)

Make your pie crust or buy one. I don’t stand behind purchased pie crust, but it seems to suit some people. Don’t bake it until the filling is in it.

Thoroughly combine pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices. Add eggs, milk and evaporated milk. Blend.
Pour it into your 9-inch pastry lined pie pan. Bake at 450 degrees ten minutes, then at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the mixture doesn’t adhere to a knife.

This recipe is in one of my old cookbooks, the old one that has lost its title page and has many pages coming apart. It’s the best. It is Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1953 loose leaf edition. I revised some of the wording but not the ingredient descriptions.