Thankful Thanksgiving is over

Somehow (by miracle or the power of Oprah), my part of Thanksgiving was a success. After weeks of preparation, I baked a Sweeter sweet potato pie and my Grandmother’s carrot cake for the big feast.

But (as with most things in this blog), it was a little daunting and at times nerve wrecking.

What I didn’t take into consideration was my competition.

Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Two turkeys (smoked and baked)
  • Cranberries (the real stuff, not that canned jelly)
  • Stuffing (or dressing if you prefer)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Broccoli casserole
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Dinner rolls
  • And so much more, I can’t even remember

Dessert spread:

  • Apple pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Chocolate cream pie
  • M&M cookies
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Sugar cookies
  • A bonafide birthday cake (extra reason to celebrate)

Needless to say, my measly little desserts were among a sea of sweets.

And of course, there’s my trepidation.

Normally in my adventures in baking, I taste the first (and sometimes second and third) bite. That way, if it’s not good, no one else is punished. This time, I didn’t get that chance.

Who takes a pie to Thanksgiving with a piece already removed?

The preparation

I decided to tackle my baking assignments on Tuesday evening, as I (like most of America) would be driving to my destination Wednesday after work.

Since I was now a semi-seasoned pro, I figured I could bake both simultaneously.

Holy ingredients!

Turns out, that can’t be done in my little kitchen. I don’t have enough baking utensils/dishes to successfully bake two desserts at once. I had to take a two-hour break to do the dishes (er, I mean, let my dishwasher run).

While the sweet potato pie basked in its 350-degree kiln and the dishwasher hummed along, I watched a couple of episodes of the new season of “The Crown.”

After I felt regal again, I got cracking on the carrot cake. Once I melded all the ingredients together for that delicacy, it was back to “The Crown” (it’s called binging for a reason).

So needless to say, when 11:00 p.m. rolled around, my cake was done but naked. I decided the frosting could wait until the morning.

12 hours later

Previous testing proved I needed to drain the pineapples thoroughly for the frosting. After adding confectioners sugar, vanilla, butter and cream cheese,

Luckily, there was extra frosting!

I threw the hand mixer in high gear throwing caution to the wind, knowing full-well I’d likely be wearing plenty of the gooey topping.

For the first time since I began baking, the mixer didn’t kick the ingredients back on my Spam apron.

Before spreading the frosting on the cool carrot cube, I did something I never do: I tasted it. I mean, there was so much of it. It was calling my name. I had to! And, I’m so glad I did. It was perfection.

Then came nerves

Packed and ready for delivery

Following the four-hour trek to Oklahoma City (yes, it usually takes three, but it was Thanksgiving), the desserts appeared ready for consumption.

But upon closer look, I saw the crust and sweet potatoes were separating on the pie. And, the carrot cake was a little crunchy on the edges. Uh oh.

Again, I knew I couldn’t take a bite out of either of these, so I had to just hope and pray to Oprah.

Gut check time

Back to the previous scene of Thanksgiving galore.

We heartily ate the savory dinner, many of us returning to the kitchen for seconds. I secretly left room for dessert, because I saw so many glorious goodies, I wanted to try them all.

Then came time to uncover all the desserts and present them. There are few times in my life I can remember being this nervous.

  • What if the pie crust wasn’t fully cooked?
  • What if the carrot cake was burned?
  • What if the frosting spoiled on the four-hour drive (damn holiday traffic)?
  • What if the sweet potato wasn’t sweet?

I took a deep breath… and grabbed a piece of pumpkin pie.

After sitting down with someone else’s dessert (which was amazing, and I need to find that recipe…), I waited.

Within minutes, I started hearing, “Dawn, this is delicious!” And, “I’ve never had sweet potato pie. It’s really good!”

And the best one, “Your grandmother would be so proud.”

I’m thankful for those kind words this holiday season.

Thank you, Grandma for leaving a lasting legacy, and helping your granddaughter find a fun hobby that can bring joy to others.

Alta Smith, sharing her gift of baking and cooking with her family. So thankful she did.

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