I have a favorite saying. “You can’t summon grace with a whistle.” It’s from a short story I once read, and it so accurately sums up Thanksgiving (or any other holiday, for that matter)!
Grace is the thing we expect on the days we register as ‘holidays’ by giving them their own day to perform on, but how often do we find it in the ways we expect? From family issues, to food concerns, to personal history of the day, and on into just plain mood – the day is fraught with real things that can get smack-dab front and center in front of the grace we seek, and a whistle (or its equivalent) isn’t likely to fix things up in a snap.
Aunt Grace in the previous post is a good example. She had worries about eating enough food and about dogs stealing her food. Even the children shown on the front of the postcard are a good example. There they are chasing the dog that’s stolen the turkey with their charming little outfits on but what on earth is going on with their hands?!! Look at them! They look like turtle’s paws!!!
There is a solution to all this. It lays in the fact that if you’re whistling for grace you’re likely to get nuts. Since there is no way to avoid it, the nuttiness should be embraced! Here’s a recipe that might help. It’s called Southern-Style Spicy Pecans and is adapted from Best American Recipes 2001-2. A great series of cookbooks, by the way.
Southern-Style Spicy Pecans
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C sugar, white or mixed brown and white
2 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. cayenne
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 1/2 C pecan halves
(I sometimes add ginger and cinnamon for a different bit of flavor)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Whisk egg whites in large bowl till frothy. Whisk in salt and gradually add sugar, beating till peaks form. Add seasonings and combine.
3. Fold pecans into egg white mix with spatula, coating evenly.
4. Turn out onto Silpat-lined or non-stick baking sheet – spread out to single layer.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, removing from oven and breaking up clumps every five minutes or so.
6. Cool slightly, break up into pieces, and wrap tightly till use.
I had egg whites already in the freezer – had used the yolks in a sauce for tortellini so saved the whites!
I was hurrying this time and did not whip the egg whites enough, but that’s okay. These are the nuts before being flattened out on the Silpat.
Here they are! Had I not been a little nutty myself this morning the finished product would have been more delicately coated and crisper. But hey! Grace is here with me anyway, and I didn’t even whistle. They taste wonderful. I’ve put them to cool on a plate in front of a pretty painting of the woods with the Swedish horse to guard them.