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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

Such a Perfect Day

September 17, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. First show of the season, the one with the street dance after, and the meatloaf dinner. It was such a perfect day, too, somewhere in the mid-sixties, not too warm, cool enough for a light jacket, and sun enough to make you smile. I'd spent the day running errands. Stopped by the post office and the bank deposit box, the gas station for a paper (and one of those amazing M&M cookies I tend to eat in the car on my way home so I don't have to share it with anyone) and over to the Charlie's for a bottle of white wine and to the market for some fresh burger and a slab of cheddar cheese and some tater tots and celery salt and soup.

Yes, the first show of the season is pretty much the first day of autumn as far as I see it. Time for comfort food and candles, the big search for the rakes and hosing down the lawn chairs before I help Mr. Sundberg stack them up high in the rafters of the garage (there's a story for another day). Time to dig out the boxes (two, this year) of coats and hats and mittens and see who can wear what and who is willing to wear what and what I need to pick up next time there's a sale at the mall. And it's time to get going on the wood. There's enough cut to get us to mid-January, I'm guessing, and winter often goes into April. Time for a campfire or two, and lap blankets, and stocking up on candy corn and bread cubes and cranberries, and time for apple pie.

So anyway, I got home an hour before the show started up, so I poured myself a glass of wine and went straight to work. I mixed up a pan of meatloaf surprise, the surprise being cheddar cheese and bacon this time around. Made a tater tot hotdish, Mr. Sundberg's favorite, and some creamed corn casserole and a batch of homemade rolls. (My grandmother's recipe. She called 'em "buns." I prefer "rolls." Not sure why.) I made some green bean hotdish for the kids, and sprinkled a whole can of fried onions on top, and threw together an apple cobbler for dessert.

Mr. Sundberg came in from cutting wood and took a quick shower and offered to whip the cream for the cobbler, which he did. The kids finished stacking wood and they came piling in, leaves in their hair and red-cheeked and laughing about who worked the hardest. And just as Mr. Keillor said, "Well, it's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon…", the kids took their seats and I placed in the center of the table a fine and bubbling tater tot hotdish, complete with two cans of cream of celery soup and a bit of cheese.

We ate quietly, listening, while a breeze blew in through the window I cracked open to cool the kitchen down. It was one of those evenings, a perfect stretch of hours on a September Saturday, and we were in for the night after one busy day. The food was hot and we all had stories to tell after Mr. Keillor finished his, and the cobbler was gone before the sun went down. Wish I could bottle a day like that, keep it up on the shelf for sometime in December, when things feel a bit dark and I could use a little light from an autumn day, the first day of autumn, far as I'm concerned.

Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Beat together sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Fold together just enough to moisten the dry ingredients.

Stir in raisins and/or nuts. Pour into a greased 9 x 5" loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


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