Friday, November 28, 2008


It is very odd for it to be Black Friday, and yet everything is normal. People have work and class, no one is out boosting the economy, it's just a normal day.

Thanksgiving was a rousing success yesterday. We had invited about 10 North Americans (and my Indian and Mauritian flatmates) over and asked them to help out with side dishes, but K (my Bostonian flatmate) and I took on the brunt of everything else that is THANKSGIVING. I tackled turkey, stuffing, and a salad; she handled desserts. And it was fabulous. Really, really fabulous.

Not to toot my own culinary horn, but the stuffing I invented? It's probably going to make appearances at future holiday meals. Yes, Virginia, it was
that good. And I can't lie, the turkey wasn't second-rate either. But the food isn't the important part. Because at the end of the day, there was something so incredibly satisfying about pulling off hosting a major holiday. And to top that, about making it a real holiday for my American (and Canadian) friends here when we're all so far away from home. It didn't feel like it was a lame collection of foods and people, just because we thought we should get together for Thanksgiving. It felt like Thanksgiving. It felt like a bonafide celebration of a major holiday, and it wasn't until I went to get in bed (at 3am) that I realized that I just did Thanksgiving without my family.

That's not to say I didn't miss everyone. Because I did. But this was good too. Thanksgiving with my little expat family. I think we did America proud last night.

I also now understand the sheer terror and panic my mom and Tata seem to have whenever they throw something like this. I spent the entire day freaking out that there was no way I'd have enough food. I was worried about people being hungry, running out of meat, running out of everything. And at the end of the night, we just had way, way too much food leftover. I made three huge turkey breasts. We only got through one and a half of them. Which I think made all the boys happy when I sent them home with tupperwares full of turkey. I'm leaving for France tomorrow. I didn't want it all to go bad!

As dinner parties have a tendency to do, by the end of the night, it was just the small, core group of us left, sitting around the kitchen, talking, drinking, and picking at the food. And one of my American friends (from North Jersey) said that we will all always remember this Thanksgiving, because we'll never have another like it again. And he was right (there's a chance it choked me up a bit, but in my defense, I'd also been on my feet cooking for six hours, was disgustingly full, and 3/4 of the way through a bottle of Australian chardonnay). Family Thanksgivings will come and go, but for this being everyone's first Thanksgiving outside of the States? It was special. Really special. I'll stop before I get cornier.

But I was so thankful it ended up being a good evening. I'd been so frustrated earlier in the week, trying to shop for Thanksgiving in a country where it doesn't exist. I had to go to four shops to find fresh sage. I couldn't find cornbread (for my stuffing) anywhere, and eventually had to settle for brioche (which ended up being the BEST SUBSTITUTE EVER and from here on out, I will forever make my stuffing with brioche). And then I couldn't seem to snag a whole turkey (not a fresh one, anyway), just whole chickens, so I had to buy three humongous turkey breasts instead. I was hitting a bit of a wall, in terms of missing the States (yes, it happens!) and having a Thanksgiving away from family looming over my head. I'd been a bit bah-humbug about it all. But the turning point was in line at Woolworth's yesterday, waiting to pay for my paper plates, tupperwear, and additional cooking supplies, realizing there American kids in line behind me doing the exact same thing. Undergrads, trying to muddle their way through their first Thanksgiving away from home too. And we talked for a minute about how to cook gravy, exchanged Happy Thanksgivings, and it was a nice moment.

Still, as wonderful as last night was, I am over the moon to be going home for Christmas!

Getting ready to start cooking, early Thursday afternoon.

Trying to get into the spirit of things.

It wasn't a whole bird, but it was a hell of a lot of meat.

K prepping the apples for her delicious Apple-Walnut Crisp.

The base for my stuffing.

A bit blurry, but the turkey in the oven.

Again, blurry, but the finished turkey!

Resting turkey, with mashed potatoes and gravy on the stove.

FOOD! And that's not even everything. Notice the pack of Miller on the table -- we thought it would be appropriate, given the Americanness of the holiday. It was that or Bud; there's only so much American beer you can get over here at the corner Tesco.

My stuffing. Definitely not healthy though. Chock full of butter and buttermilk. Paula Deen would be so proud!

Myself and K at the end of the night, having changed into pajamas once everyone but a select few friends had left. Proof that if we can live together, host Thanksgiving together, and sit side by side, that all ethnic and religious groups really should be able to get along. World peace, ACC-style!

It was a most auspicious occasion indeed; even the legendary fox of Kelvinhaugh Gate made a Thanksgiving appearance! I like to pretend he's a magical fox. Though he's a bit of a rude one; we tossed food down to him and he ignored it, and just went sniffing around in the trash. Who turns down my turkey? I mean, really now.

Overall? A phenomenal holiday!

And now I pack because I have a morning flight to Paris tomorrow!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home