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Reverie of Gratitude

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I would like to invite you over for butternut squash soup. I am excellent at making this soup, and I leave out the heavy whipping cream, but you won’t even miss it. The recipe recommends using an immersion blender, but I’ll tell you that my regular blender works just fine.

You make batches. The color is burnt orange. It is pure autumn, the brand that Keats promotes, though whenever I read that poem, I think, it could end after the first stanza. That it doesn’t: a giant bonus. I would like to invite you over for mashed potatoes.

I did not skimp on decadence this year, after Ken made his with low-sodium
chicken broth. It would be nice if those were worth eating, but I fear they are not. I don’t like to pretend. I am aware that Thanksgiving is a problem: the pilgrim narrative can’t hold up much longer, what with Columbus’s reputation gone south.

My job ignores him, altogether. That’s alright: I like my work. I even like cooking on a morning like this, when time is not a Harley driver with a doctored muffler in my blind spot. On the other hand: the noise makes me aware of their presence.

To all the Harley drivers: I would like to make you butternut squash soup. I think it would cause less lane-splitting for it is a patient soup: close to a puree and distant from a broth. A friend once said of a clam affair: more a bisque than a chowder, which represented his general state of disillusionment. I do not feel that way. Certain things have gone egregiously right to balance out the egregiously wrong. The word reminds me of Spanish for “y”: i griega. Why oh why oh why oh.

For the month approaching Thanksgiving, we receive emails from the local rescue mission, reminding us how little it costs to provide a family a meal. I give $180. My husband gives $250. I give another $180. It is a quiet competition. There are worse contests. I cannot invite everyone over for butternut squash soup and mashed potatoes, though I have enough of the latter for 24. The recipe called for 10 pounds of spuds. This year, I am following recipes.

My son is now making a key lime pie. He will zest his knuckles within a moment or two, with 007 in the background, making love to a supermodel. He asks if I watched James Bond as a child. I said, they were too sexy for me. Twice today I drove inland and back to the coast. Both times the sky was whole driving east, and in tatters as we drove west. My approach to the fat content in my potatoes was ecumenical: one stick butter, one package cream cheese, once cup milk/heavy cream. Fair is fair.

Tomorrow, a feast. I would like to invite you. My mother would say: “Genug shoyn.” Enough, already. As I peeled the 10th pound of potatoes. Seriously. We have more than enough. Be here close to noon, as my sister-in-law makes an artichoke spinach dip that disappears quickly.

– Patty Seyburn

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