Checking in

On Wednesday at noon, I submitted the third draft of my manuscript. Working on it the past few weeks, I’ve found myself oddly satisfied in knowing that my promised reward for turning it in would be a massive Thanksgiving feast. It made sense, given that my memoir is as food-focused as I am.

But within seconds of clicking send, I felt my body and mind begin to come down from two weeks of adrenaline. There were a few waves of relief and pride, but mostly, I just felt panic that it was over. And I struggle with transitions.

I began to second-guess the sitting still that I had planned for the day–the magazine reading, TV watching, and general lazing. I just wasn’t ready to have nothing to do. I feared the void left without writing, even though there were millions of moments while doing it when I cursed the profession altogether.

And so, I threw myself into cooking and baking. It has always been a therapeutic process for me.  Ten minutes after emailing the draft to my editor with a note that asked, “Should we be concerned that the reader hates the main character (me)?”, I was in my car en route to Dunkin’ Donuts for a large iced coffee, then next door to the supermarket for Thanksgiving pie ingredients.


Between Wednesday evening and 3 o’clock on Thanksgiving, I made:

Ritz Pecan Sausage Stuffing
Brown Sugared Butternut Squash
Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes
Whole Berry Orange Cranberry Sauce
Cinnamon Apple Pie
Coconut Custard Pie
Cranberry Walnut Pie

The only things I thankfully did not handle were the turkey and the gravy. I should note that I made enough food to feed fifteen adults with leftovers.  I should then note that I was only actually feeding six adults.

The food, the cooking, the baking–all of it–delicious. And restorative to my crazy writer’s mind.

Tell me: what was the best thing you ate yesterday? 




19 thoughts on “Checking in

  1. Jane

    Warm congratulations on finishing the manuscript of your book! Rest assured, no one–I repeat, no one–is going to “hate the main character.” Not a soul. Not possible. And, your pies look fantastic! Pie creation is always a good way to channel one’s excess adrenaline. :)

    1. Linda Sue

      Best thing I ate on T day hmm? Probably the apple slab pie I made and took to friends house for our celebration together. But German chocolate cake came in a close second!
      Honest and truly – no one can “hate the main character” of YOUR story – you continue to amaze, inspire and amuse your readers – oh and just enough feistiness to season the mix.

  2. Routhie

    Green Bean Casserole, hands down. Nothing canned goes into it and I shall keep it special by only making it once per year. Congratulations on finishing the manuscript! I’m sure some much needed rest will come to you soon.

  3. Jessica

    I had high hopes for the new things I tried (Apple Squash Soup, Cornbread Stuffing, Apple Cranberry Slaw), but nothing really wowed me :( My desserts were best-received! I made Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pie and a Fresh Apple Cake w/ Caramel Glaze. The apple cake was great!

  4. Heather@SugarDish(Me)

    I am sooooo excited for your book. My favorite on Thanksgiving was the pumpkin pie. I’m a pumpkin pie purist. I love it!! I ONLY make it at Thanksgiving and my sisters TOTALLY stalk it. It’s my favorite part of the whole day… me + them + coffee + pie plate.

  5. Leigh Ann

    I’ve been in charge of the turkey the past few years, and I finally got it right this year. I brined it in a homemade veggie broth that had been simmered with all the traditional thanksgiving herbs. When it came time for cooking all I had to do was rub my bird with some butter and sprinkle her with freshly ground black pepper. Perfect.

  6. Holly H.

    Recipes for the above items pretty please? That coconut pie is making me drool….Congrats on the manuscript! Quite an accomplishment :)

  7. Alma

    Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite holidays, but then I sort of broke up with the holidays. This Thanksgiving was the first one I cooked my way since then. I cooked about as many dishes as you did! I think focusing on the food was what got me through. It really is therapeutic and such a creative way of nurturing yourself and others. I have problems with sitting still, too, especially when I’m working through things in my mind.

    My favorite dish was the stuffing–because it always is. Not everything turned out perfectly, but what counts was that I put a lot of love into those imperfect dishes and learned some stuff to make it better next time. And that coconut pie looks insanely delicious. I may have to go buy a slice today.

  8. Wendy

    My awesome pecan pie that calls for maple syrup instead of Karo. It’s like a pecan praline pie filled with chopped pecans and decorated with pecan halves arranged in an attractive pattern on the top. Definitely worth splurging most of my Thanksgiving calories/points on!!
    I can’t wait for your book, too! Congrats!

  9. Becky

    I want the recipe for that cranberry pie! The photographs alone are making me drool.

    The best thing I ate on Thanksgiving was the homemade cranberry relish, which is another recipe I need to get my hands on.

  10. silvertrish

    pleasepleaseplease post the recipe for the cranberry pie. It looks Uh-mayzing! (pronounced phonetically). I’m not a pie person, but I need to make this one.

    1. Katy Brannen

      I agree with those who have requested the pie recipes! That cranberry walnut pie looks incredible and I’ve never had anything like it. And I always love coconut. Happy to see that your Thanksgiving was thoroughly enjoyed! :)

  11. Lauren

    One of my co-workers once commented that I must be a stress-baker. She noticed that on our busiest days I would always come in with some homemade baked-good the next morning.

    I think after the stressful days at work, I just needed to get in my kitchen and have something come out right.

    Umm.. coconut custard pie?! Please post recipe soon! xoxo


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