I have always enjoyed baking and making things (I value homemade rather than always going for bought versions) and this weekend was no exception.
Made apple and pumpkin pies, and then headed to my MILs to make mincemeat yesterday. My DH has always hoarded his mincemeat tarts, and although I like butter tarts, I have judiciously avoided his tarts since they are his and his mom always makes them for him and presents him with his own package of them to last for a while. It is really cool how he partitions them out over the year, they are truly his, and it was a big deal learning how to make mincemeat this year. It is a basic recipe that his mom has used forever, and it calls for rum or brandy. Family tradition, coming from a line of rum drinkers, means that rum is the favourite choice... and we chose to use 151 proof rum. It's been a few years since I have bought any (if ever, although I have had it before) and I had to laugh when I read the warnings all over the bottle, how flamable it is... it even has a metal piece on the lid to help it from spontaneously combusting. Damn, you gotta love rum. When I added the rum to the cooked mincemeat, it let off an impressive steam of alcoholic vapours... we are now stocked until at least next summer when green tomatoes are once again in season... I will remember the learning and the making of the mincemeat this year, and it will become a family tradition for us.
Speaking of homemade, I got a few new cookbooks last week from my order of cooking utensils. They are decent cookbooks, but I noticed a lot of the recipes are "cheaters". I know there is a time and a place (especially when just a busy mom trying to do something different or fancy) but I don't always want to grab pillsbury dough or the frozen whipped topping... I do like it old school when I am in control of the ingredients. That said, there are a few things I will cut corners on... and I will go sideways on others. Some interesting ideas - I like that about cookbooks, just having the guts to try something new out rather than the same ol' same old.
Turkey. Can't say it is all that anymore - ever since I discovered how easy beer-can chickens are, and making crockpot stuffing... can't wholeheartedly say that turkey is the way to go for all those big family dinners anymore. Who knew?