Happy Thanksgiving From Caffeinated Politics

Cold rain was falling as I came into the house late this afternoon.  I had run some errands and was glad to be back home.  The traffic was crazy, and the weather seemed intent on chilling me through and through.  As I took my shoes off in the entryway and opened the door  I was greeted with the smell of the holiday season.  James had made pies.  The warmth of home and the scent of baked goods took me back to my mom’s kitchen.  What a nice way to end the day.

But the question is if  James followed a recipe when making the pies.

In this home I am the one who gets out measuring spoons and lines all the ingredients up with detailed instructions printed out from a book.  James has baked and cooked so long he is more like my grandma  when it comes to whipping up creations.  A nip, smidgen, pinch, dash, (those are in order of size) are more the terms James uses when he is in the kitchen. 

In case you wish to experiment without measuring spoons….

  • Tad — 1/8th teaspoon
  • Dash — 1/16th teaspoon (or less than 1/8th teaspoon)
  • Pinch — 1/16th teaspoon (or 1/24th teaspoon)
  • Smidgen (smidge, for short) — 1/32nd teaspoon (or 1/48th teaspoon)
  • Drop/Nip — 1/60th teaspoon (or 1/80th teaspoon or 1/120th teaspoon)
  • Hint — a trace

For a cranberry raisin pie James phoned his mom in Maine to recall the exact recipe.  That was a rare moment.  Had I not witnessed it I am sure never to have heard of it.  But when he had the general idea of how it all was to be prepared James was baking as if he had a cooking show on the Food Network.  Makes those of us who rely on the printed recipe as much as the measuring spoons look like a piker.

In case you are like me and need a recipe to follow…..gasp!…..here is the one that you might enjoy this holiday.

Cranberry Raisin Pie 

(Filling)  Cook together: 

2 heaping cups of cranberries (essentially one bag)

1 ½  cup sugar

1 ½  cup water

1 cup raisins 

Toward the end of cooking when fruit is tender and falling apart, use 5 tbsp flour shaken in cold water to thicken.  Add 1 tsp. Vanilla and butter the size of walnut, and perhaps some spice to taste (cinnamon and nutmeg are great). 

Put mixture into double pie crust, cutting holes for vents, and bake at 375ºF for between 40 minutes to an hour until top crust is golden brown.  Cool before serving with whipped cream topping. 

No matter if the pie at your home is made the old-fashioned way, or from the bakery, I hope you and yours have a most Happy Thanksgiving.