Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 -- Warm sand and crappy pie dough

Even though I prepared most of our Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday and Wednesday, somehow Thursday felt as chaotic as ever, except for the morning, when we headed to the beach to throw the Frisbee around for an hour or so.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I was loathe to leave and return to the kitchen. It felt good to get some exercise too, ahead of the food-fest that was to come, and so we may have found a new Thanksgiving tradition.

Safe to say that this new tradition was discovered in part because the temperature was 20 degrees higher than normal; we were in the low 80s by lunchtime.  All day long the sun shone, we kept the windows open, and we donned summer clothes for the afternoon, as we stood around the barbecue as the turkey was smoked and cooked.

Here's an interesting note on the heat, however ... for the first time I had a tremendously difficult time getting my pie dough to perform properly.  I just couldn't make a cohesive dough, and making my pumpkin and ollalieberry pies was extremely frustrating.  It turns out that if your kitchen is too warm, the gluten in the dough does not bind properly. (Hence the instructions in the recipes about chilled ice water and cold shortening -- there is a reason why they all ask for this.  So add to your notes that a cool kitchen goes a long ways towards helping the pie crust-making process, too.)

So with one homemade and one last-minute, store-bought pie crust (oh the shame), things still worked out and everyone was happy and extremely well-fed.

If the weather is like this next year, I am making one thing for Thanksgiving -- reservations at a nice restaurant in town, with outdoor seating and cool drinks.  That will give me more beach time to throw the Frisbee in the morning, and I will save myself the frustration of pie dough that shrinks and falls apart, not to mention the hot kitchen. The whole holiday of Thanksgiving is not designed for summer weather, I must say.  So next year if it's like this, I'm taking the hint and opting out of the cook-fest.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  1. Or come to my house! Happy Thanksgiving! I agree. It is designed for cold weather. My kitchen gets hot and it was 22F! I open the doors and let the room cool dramatically. Pie crust in the heat is indeed tricky. In the summer, I make my pie crusts with half bread flour and half AP flour. My kitchen faces west, so the counters are warm in the summer. The bread flour has more protein and forms gluten more readily. But for Thanksgiving what I usually do is make the pie crusts and freeze them rolled out in the pan sometime in the fall. A huge timesaver, and a task that can be done when the conditions are right.
    I love going to the beach in thanksgiving. It feels so special and never gets old! No beach for me this year, though. I'm in your boat. I had everything planned to the second. And despite being ahead all week, the last three hours were still a free fall of spastic proportion. Thanksgiving is so many moving parts, I think it's unavoidable! Glad you still enjoyed your day, despite a few hiccups!

    1. Thanks! Glad I am not the only one who has the 2-hour countdown Thanksgiving kitchen chaos. I may start adding a little bread flour anytime the temp is above 80 degrees, that is a wonderful tip and I can't wait to try it. If it's still this warm next month maybe I can give it a shot then lol. Glad your Thanksgiving was a good one, too. It looked beautiful!