That’s why they call it “comfort food,” I guess

Archived | November 24, 2009 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I could hear gunshots in the distance while Mr. Keillor was talking about tundra swans, and I’ll confess it got my mouth watering for a good meal of grouse or pheasant. I grew up in a family of bird hunters, and around this time of year there was always creamed pheasant to look forward to.
Which reminds me, I have to pull that turkey out of the freezer. There’s a decent number of people planning to join us on Thursday, and everything is just about set to go except for one more trip to the grocery store. I’m planning on mashed potatoes, green bean hot dish, corn casserole, salad, sweet potatoes, dressing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. And rolls. The usual. That’s why they call it “comfort food,” I guess. You can count on it. It’s how it has been.
It would be nice, though, to shake it up a bit once in a while. The food, of course, is the obvious thing. We could roast something on a spit over a campfire for Thanksgiving. Or cook up a seven course meal, each course from a different country. Or just eat bread and water this time around to really drive home the concept of Grateful. But when I say “shake it up,” I’m thinking on a bigger scale. Invite all the neighbors over this year. Double everything you’re making and treat a family who might appreciate it to a surprise turkey dinner. Abandon the cooking and volunteer at a homeless shelter. Something. Anything to get us all out of our comfort zones.
It’s tough to know what you’ve got to be grateful for if things never change, unless things never changing is what you’re grateful for, and who wants that? We wouldn’t enjoy the winter so much if it weren’t for the spring. Thanks be for the seasons, and for surprises, and for sudden storms that snow you in. Thanks be for the good that comes out of most things, and for this day, and for whatever comes next.
Warm or cold, this cake makes a good afterschool snack. The frosting is extra-thick, and I always add a bit of allspice to ratchet up the flavor a bit.
Pumpkin Cake
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin
1 ½ sticks melted butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
Blend first four ingredients. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 cake pan. Bake at 400, 25 minutes or until set in middle.
Frost with cream cheese frosting: blend 1 stick softened butter, 8 ounces cream cheese, 1 16 oz package powdered sugar, 1 T vanilla. Add a few drops of milk to soften if necessary.