Monday, November 26, 2007


As Thanksgiving approached this year, we knew we wanted to celebrate it, and after all, we had brought canned pumpkin and cranberry sauce for this express purpose. However, we knew we didn't have the money to put on an entire dinner ourselves, and at the same time didn't want to do a potluck thing, because telling someone from Germany, for example, do bring sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving might not bring the right sort of sweet, Thanksgiving-like sweet potatoes, and that wouldn't do at all. Thankfully, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (ie, the night before, but we always knew that we couldn't celebrate Thanksgiving on the actual day, because we're given no holiday, and so there wouldn't be any time that day) Daniel, another American in the program motivated us to still plan a Thanksgiving, and than night sent out an email to everyone in the program, inviting them to a dinner on Sunday, to which they were also invited to RSVP, and pay a few pounds.

So come Sunday afternoon, Avram and I rushed home from church, popped a turkey in the oven, and began preparations, along with Daniel, for the Thanksgiving feast. I had actually made the pumpkin pies the day before, which part to me is the hardest part; I always stress out about pie crust, although mine always turns out okay, it still is a difficult thing to make, because despite what all the cookbooks say, when I add the right amount of water, it never turns into a dough, but just looks like shortbread cookie crumbs. Regardless, I muddled through the process this year, and turned out three pies; two from the canned pumpkin, and then one very large one from homemade pumpkin. The latter turned out well, although I didn't blend the pumpkin, because we don't have a blender, and so had to content myself with mixing it, and it did have small bits and strings of pumpkin in it. Ironically, it was easier in England to buy a cooking pumpkin, because in America they have so many others that aren't actually pumpkins, but blends of squash and here they only had the cooking pumpkins.

It only took the three of us four hours, with an hour off in the middle, to make Thanksgiving dinner. Writing that, it sounds like a long time, but really cooking for an afternoon isn't long at all. This was the first time I'd ever been in charge of a Thanksgiving, either for planning, but also for all of the food, but everything turned out well. The turkey didn't look like it was going to cook for awhile, or at least, not cook in an appropriate amount of time, but at the last stretch it browned up, and even remained tender, so we were happy all around. Granted, we did eat an hour later than planned, but honestly what Thanksgiving meal isn't a little later than the organized time?

We had thirteen people at our Thanksgiving, plus Lydia, and people from Hungary, Germany, Poland, Australia, Denmark, Canada, and then of course America, and they all liked our American food. In fact, the sweet potatoes didn't even survive to seconds, a first for any Thanksgiving I've been to (I tried a new recipe that didn't involve either canned yams or marshmallows). And the pumpkin pie was a hit, although people were a little nervous about it beforehand, most never having had pumpkin at all. And many never knew that cranberries were a new world food, so it was also an educational night.

I think that this is my favorite social thing we've done thus far in England; we really had good conversations, good food, and best of all, I didn't have to do any of the cleaning up, because I had done the cooking. Best of all, since the party was in our house (not in our apartment, but in the "common" kitchen and living room on the main floor) and we cooked, we also got all the leftovers, so today for dinner we had pumpkin pie, which in the words of Avram's father was calorically equivalent to a dinner.

Over all I had a very good Thanksgiving, although a few days late. It was fun being an emissary of American culture, and we inspired the two Polish girls to have a party this Friday for St. Andrew's day, where you try to find out who you're going to marry (Married girls can still come, though, I guess I get to see how Avram's measuring up), and I love celebrating as many holidays as possible, so I'm all for others in the program having parties as well.

As we ate, I had everyone tell in order something they were grateful for; I started us off, by saying I was grateful for my Family; Avram, Lydia, and then the new baby I'm expecting (they didn't know I was pregnant, so it was a fun way of announcing it, but also, I am truly grateful for all three). As well, I'm grateful even thousands of miles from home we were still able to celebrate Thanksgiving with the three main essentials; Food, Family/friends, and thankfulness to God.


  1. sounds like a lovely meal thora. im glad that you were able to get the money to do it. So what was the ingredients with the sweet potatoes? just curious.

  2. We boiled the sweet potatoes, and then made a sauce of butter, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie like spices, and boiled that on the stove, then poured the sauce over the potatoes, and baked them for forty minutes. Mmm, not healthy, but mmmm...

  3. Sounds like great fun and a great success!

  4. Yams are not Sweet Potatoes no matter what people say

  5. They have something here in the Caribbean they call "batatas" which are supposed to be like sweet potatoes too, but aren't, quite. Nor are they yams, exactly. Lotsa foods are like that here. Oranges are green, for example (just the skins, the insides look like oranges), but they still call them "naranjas", which means "oranges" in Spanish.