In a Sow’s Ear 11-30-09
Last week, Martha Stewart phoned. She wanted to invite herself to my house for Thanksgiving. She was planning an article on Ranch Country Thanksgiving Cookery, she said. Well, naturally, I was flattered. I certainly wasn’t about to say no to a woman who’s made a fortune converting ordinary objects such as macaroni into decorative works of art.
Martha said that along with her Cookery article she would include a photo of me. “I suggest,” she said, “you pose holding a wooden cooking spoon.”
Well, as you can imagine, I was a tad intimidated. How could I ever measure up to such a prestigious person? I had only three hours to prepare for her visit.
I hurried to the woodpile, selected a piece of old cedar fence post and, using my pocket knife, I quickly carved a foot-long spoon and sanded it smooth. Next I caught up an Angora sheep, clipped off a bit of fleece, carded it, spun it into yarn, then wove the yarn into a soft cloth. Dashing to the “natural” food store, I purchased some fresh-off-the-boat olives which I pressed and processed into extra-extra-extra virgin olive oil. Using my woven soft cloth, I rubbed the oil onto my wooden spoon till it gleamed. It was a spoon to be proud of. I was ready to be photographed.
I did not, however, rest on those laurels. I hurried to the turkey yard, selected a 40-pounder, guillotined it with a homemade axe I forged from old horseshoes, plucked it, singed it and tweezered out the pin feathers. After gutting the bird, I followed the usual preparation you do when you butcher a fowl and if you don’t know, don’t ask.
From three old hub caps, a length of barbed wire, a piece of cattle guard, a chunk of tin and 2 feet of welding rod, I hammered out a rotisserie and placed the prepared gobbler on it.
Moving with Martha Stewart efficiency, I baked 12 loaves of six different kinds of bread, then dried some croutons in a kiln I constructed in a jiffy out of bricks from the front walk. I made dressing from carrots, onions and fresh sage harvested from the greenhouse garden I built a few minutes ago.
When Martha yoo-hooed at my front door, I was ready except for the apple pie. On my way to answer the bell I ground some organic flour, rolled out a pie crust, popped it into a pie pan, peeled some apples, cut them into slices, arranged them on the crust, shoved the pan into the oven and set the temperature at 450.
With everything under perfect control, I first toured Martha around my house and yard. I showed her how I’d spray-painted sagebrush with different colors. She picked a bouquet and promised she’d use the idea in her next television how-to craft program. I was thrilled.
I served the turkey, the dressing, the trimmings, the salads, the special wines I’d made from grapes I stomped and bottled right after breakfast. While Martha enjoyed her 23rd glass of homemade wine, I went to the kitchen to check on the pie and was horrified to discover the apples had turned into crispy chips. What had I done wrong? How could I rescue this disaster? What would Martha do?
Speedily I dumped the crisp apple slices into a sauce pan, added water and cooked them till they softened. Then I broke the pie crust – which had baked to toasty brown – into crumbles and placed those on dessert plates. Racing into the dining room, I replenished the wine in Martha’s glass. Fortunately she hadn’t noticed I’d been gone as she was in the midst of demonstrating how to weave turkey bones into placemats.
Back in the kitchen, I spooned cooked apples onto the pie crust crumbles. Then I dashed out to milk a range cow, whipped some cream and, using my carved wooden spoon, I piled cream onto the apples and topped the concoction with pink glitter I made myself from ground rosehips.
Martha Stewart is still raving over that dessert. She’s asked me to be a consultant on her program, and she’s mounted my wooden spoon above her mantel. I’m sorry, but I can’t reveal her personal address. She made me promise.
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