Saturday, November 24, 2007

That was then. . .

(This post is in lieu of a Saturday soup)

. . .this is now.

Since I spent Thanksgiving last year in Africa with my daughter, and this year with our son in Pittsburgh, I can’t help but compare a little these two Thanksgiving experiences.

Thanksgiving is that quintessential American holiday. Admittedly, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving, but in October. So, when I went to Africa last year, I was taking advantage of the long weekend; I was not really going for Thanksgiving in Ghana.

My daughter Kristen and I did have a Thanksgiving dinner, sharing it with a friend, Alex, from the Netherlands. So there we were, two Americans, with one Dutch friend, eating kabobs for ourThanksgiving meal in an Argentinean restaurant run by a Lebanese manager, in Accra, the capital of Ghana in Africa! A most international experience.

For this year’s Thanksgiving, my husband and I drove to Pittsburgh, for a very traditional Thanksgiving with our son and his wife.

Last year, in Ghana which is just north of the equator, the outside temperature was usually in the 90s (F). Here’s the morning scene in Pittsburgh.

I went swimming in the hotel’s outdoor pool in Ghana; in Pittsburgh we drove through a display of Christmas lights on Thanksgiving night.

Both Thanksgivings are special because the main ingredient in each was the opportunity to be with family members.

Most Thanksgiving meals feature some recipe that is a traditional family dish. When she was living, my mother in law made a fabulous butterscotch pie, and I have her recipe. It has become one of our family traditions to have butterscotch pie for special occasions. So rather than post a Saturday soup, here’s the recipe:

Butterscotch Pie
Makes 2 pies

Make two pie crusts; bake and set aside. (I use the Joy of Cooking pie crust recipe and always get excellent results.)

2 cups brown sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup melted browned butter
Yolks of 4 large eggs (set aside the egg whites in a separate bowl)
4 cups milk (preferably whole)
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Brown butter in a saucepan, allowing it just to begin browning. Then mix flour into the browned butter, then the brown sugar. Make sure all the flour and sugar are mixed into the butter.

2. Stir the egg yolks into the milk, then add vanilla. Stir the liquid into the butter/sugar/flour mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the whole mixture thickens—it should just come to a boil. STIR CONSTANTLY (this is the real trick to making this rich butterscotch.)

3. Pour the butterscotch mixture into the baked pie crusts.

4. Beat the set aside egg whites with 2 T regular sugar until the whites are stiff and peak nicely. Spread on top of pies—brown under broiler briefly.

5. Allow pies to cool several hours. Refrigerate.

Hope you enjoy Mother Mary’s wonderful butterscotch pies. We have found that the stirring spoon is a popular item. Extra butterscotch, if there is any, can be poured into small pudding dishes and eaten as a pudding.


Beverly said...

Thanks for your comment for Sarah on my blog this morning. I know she will find everyone's words comforting.

Thanks too for sending me your links about your years in Africa and your visit last year.

That certainly is a contrast in Thanksgivings. But as you said, the most important element is family. Thanks for your post.

Mary said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Donna! Kabobs or turkey - doesn't matter. Giving thanks is a celebration wherever you are.

I enjoyed your comparison and great photos. The Kabobs look tasty and the table in Pittsburgh is beautiful.

Thanks for another recipe. Mmmm. Butterscotch :o) I just gained 6 ounces thinking about it...

RuthieJ said...

Hi Donna,
What a difference a year makes! Fun Thanksgiving stories and memories.

Thanks for the yummy butterscotch pie recipe. Two pies would be just right for our Christmas celebration.

Anvilcloud said...

It's all about the company.

Cathy said...

Your heart must stretch between those beautiful children. It's such a blessing - the love of family.

Like Mary - I gained weight just reading the ingredients in Grandma's recipe :0)

Anonymous said...

Love all the pictures Donna - life is all about the good memories we have at the end.

Pam said...

What wonderful pictures, Donna, beautiful memories. International or at home,the love of family is what counts.

thailandchani said...

I had no idea you were going! Now I'll have to keep coming back to read more about it. :)

LauraHinNJ said...

I remember my dad raving about butterscotch pie, but I've never had it. Will have to try this one - sounds delish.

Ruth said...

The pie recipe looks wonderful. I haven't had a butterscotch pie in years. The contrasts in your Thanksgiving celebrations are striking and so interesting.

Elaine Cougler Author said...

Oh, that reminds me of my mother's wonderful butterscotch pie, my favorite of all the flavours she made. Food just turns on the memory banks, doesn't it?