Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anyone that's ever glanced at my blog knows that I love food and I love my family. Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to celebrate both. Though I have to work tomorrow and Saturday, I am still thankful that I got to rest and relax and eat with my family today.

Some of the smaller things around the house that I love to see and that I'm thankful for:

Chili peppers, drying on a table outside. I think my mother might have been a farmer's wife in a previous life. Or maybe just a poor man's wife?

The way my mother meticulously pieces together the completely dried peppers into very pretty bundles makes me think that she may also be a descendant of Dae Jang Geum (대장금). These aren't ornamental- they are used in soups and stews and other dishes that need a kick. It's like buying a container of red pepper flakes, only fresher and spicier.

I dislike mushrooms. Not their flavor, because I actually like cream of mushroom soup and even mushroom broth, but their texture. Dried, fresh, frozen, whatever- I don't like mushrooms. But they are very pretty. I enjoy taking pictures of them and drawing them. Toadstools with spots are really fun to sketch!

Momma even dries her own beans. To me, the impetuous, money-frittering child of the modern era, drying food that is readily available pre-dried is akin to making my own butter: why? how? WHY? But I have to admit, the food that is home-dried is better than what I buy. So yes, of course Mother knows best.

While outside taking pictures of things drying, I took a photo of one of the many, many plants in the backyard. I love succulents- their name, their fleshy little petals, the way the colors blend together, their pretty shapes, everything. This particular plant is very old, it's been around since I was a kid. The combination of California weather and my mother's green thumb (inherited from my maternal grandfather) keeps all the plants happy, healthy, and alive.

My mother was pottering about in the kitchen (wallpapered with a psychedelic 70's pattern!) while I tried to get this bundle of peppers in focus. My new camera and I are still learning to be friends, and the thing likes to fight me sometimes when I pick a busy background to use as a backdrop. Those tiny, brighter-red peppers, by the way, are killers.

A family friend dropped off a bagful of freshly-picked persimmons, one of my favorite fruits that have far too short a season. I love these best slightly underripe, firm and with a snappy bite. I can't find these very often in American grocery stores, but the Korean stores (most Asian stores, I would think) stock them all through the fall and winter.

Thanksgiving ushers in the mad holiday dash to the end of the year. So as the madness starts, at least we have one day where the family can sit around, blissfully denying the chaos to come, eating and laughing and shouting and bickering and hugging and drinking.

If you are not near your family this Thanksgiving, I'm sending you a psychic hug. If you're not American (or Canadian) and have no idea what this so-called "Thanksgiving" is, you're missing out! Try it sometime, you'll be glad you did. All you need is a tally of everything you're thankful for, some family and/or friends that you love to death, and more food than is befitting our current time of recession.

Happy Thanksgiving!