CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Read up on oats, pies, quick comfort

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A food writer once proclaimed, “Tell me where your grandmother came from, and I can tell you how many kinds of pie you serve for Thanksgiving.”

In the Midwest, two pies is the norm: pumpkin and mince. In the East, add cranberry pie.

Southern favorites are sweet potato and pecan.

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In colonial times it was thought “penurious and incorrect to offer company fewer than three kinds of pie” is the tale recounted in “Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience.”

Melanie Kirkpatrick’s book discusses how it was and wasn’t from 1621 to 2021.

I plan a dedication to the giving thanks focus of this holiday, and I’d like some of each of these pies, please.

I confess, I had not heard of cranberry pie and I’d love to try some.

Oats on the go

With anticipation of sampling many pies this season, I aim to dine healthfully whenever possible. Let me share a mid-day fueling tip.

If I make an instant oatmeal serving in a metal to-go container, it is warm-ish enough to enjoy with nuts and cranberries, or perhaps cinnamon and honey.

It’s a satisfying substitute for the coffee cake my mother’s friends may have enjoyed in the ‘70s.

One-Hour Comfort

Rough day? Have a Prosperity Sandwich.

Panang Curry with Shrimp could spice you up quickly. There’s even time for pillowy scrambled eggs in Xihongshi Chao Jidan.

America’s Test Kitchen books thoroughly explain how you create photo-worthy meals and include “Why This Recipe Works” that tell us why we’re about to be rewarded for our efforts.

Words like “crunchewy,” nostalgic and hearty and offerings such as cheeseburger mac and green gumbo make up worlds of flavor in “One-Hour Comfort: Quick, Cozy, Modern Dishes for All Your Cravings.”

We are alike the world over – judging from the chapter called Carbs – and comfort is a global crave.

I didn’t note pumpkin in this book, but sweet potato stew with peanuts makes me feel orange and warm all over. There are comfort desserts, too.

For all my Pescatarian friends

“Veggies & Fish” Inspired New Recipes for Plant-Forward Pescatarian Cooking” is from Bart Van Olphen, author of “The Tinned Fish Cookbook.”

Photographs and graphic art will inspire readers to crave even single radishes. Wait until single ingredients come together in Pasta Al Forno with Kale & Mushrooms.

If the phrase “plant-forward” intimidated you, gather ingredients for Gin & Tonic Salmon, which goes with Cucumber & Fennel Salad.

Navy beans, lentils and potatoes are some bases for all things that come from the waters.

A reason I’d never have thought to pair raw beets with boquerones and Manchego is that I’d never heard of the second ingredient.

Marinated raw anchovy filets are the NO. 1 tapas dish in Spain, it says. I have experienced the salty cheese.

Maybe those rhyming about green eggs and ham would try this book’s Spinach Pancakes with Cream Cheese, Avocado & Smoked Salmon. I would.

A textured cover makes the book a pleasure to hold and read.

Ketchup Mayo?

Go ahead and scoff. A little mayo may go a long way, but it can go a long way hidden into your chocolate cupcakes or be the star of your roasted chicken.

“The Mayonnaise Cookbook: 50 Savory and Sweet Recipes Starring the World’s Best Condiment” — Erin Isaac is sincere, but I think hot sauce is the world’s best condiment.

But go ahead, have fun with your mayo. Around Southeast Texas, mayo obviously goes in Cajun remoulade and stuffed eggs, but Issac is ready to surprise you.

I’d eat anything on any page of this book. Here’s a simple one: Ketchup Mayo.

Mix a quarter cup of mayo with the same amount of ketchup.

Add a dash of garlic powder and another dash of Worcestershire sauce.

You’ve got something different for your fries or hot dogs. I’d be even more inclined to try this next one:

Wasabi Mayo goes with fish and so much more:

• ½ cup mayonnaise

• 1 teaspoon wasabi paste

• 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

• 1 tablespoon agave nectar

• Juice of one half lemon

• Zest of 1 lemon

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who would love to try your cranberry pie and mayo/chocolate cakes. Reach her at