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Cooking and Traditions

I mentioned in an earlier post that my current obsessive compulsion is to cook, learn about cooking and read about cooking. This weekend, after watching my son (and the rest of the Jay Marching Band) nearly sweep their division in the first marching band competition of the year, I settled in on Sunday to do laundry, finish a book proposal and cook. I made both cottage pie and my Mom’s apple crisp.
The cottage pie is pretty basic – I browned some hamburger, made a gravy from the rendered fat, flour, a bit of beef stock and some milk then covered that will a bag of frozen mixed veggies and some homemade garlic mashed potatoes. That all got covered with some cheese and baked. It was very tasty and will be even tastier tomorrow for my lunch and possibly again on Wednesday…
As for the apple crisp, that is where the tradition part comes in. My mother has always made the best apple crisp ever. She doesn’t doctor up the apples – she just pours them into a baking pan, puts her crisp mixture over it (1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup each white and brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, some cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, mix it up with a pastry blender or in the food processor until the butter is thoroughly mixed through) and bakes it at 350 for an hour. I dredged my apple slices in a flour, cinnamon and nutmeg mixture and added some butter and maple syrup to the apples before I added the crisp. The apples themselves were excellent, but it’s the crisp part that I won’t mess with. That stuff is so good and so perfect with the apples – and it’s the part that makes me nostalgic for family reunions where it was plentiful and Thanksgiving dinners where it starred alongside the pumpkin pie for dessert.
Now I’m wishing that I’d gotten some pictures of my Sunday cooking efforts – the cottage pie was actually quite pretty, with the fluffy potatoes covered in cheese.

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