Monday, December 1, 2008

thanksgiving delayed by k

thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays...it's all about the food and simply being with friends/family. this year, the actual thursday came and went without much fanfare. regular school day, regular soccer practice for arel. it was strange to think about everyone back home immersed in the holiday because it really felt far away from here.

our thanksgiving came yesterday and it was worth the wait. we invited what i was calling a strange mix of people, but we decided to go with it and see what happened. the obvious invitees were miguel and his son maxim, and my friend anna. both people i met over twenty years ago when i lived here. i actually shared a thanksgiving with anna my second year in barcelona, so it was nice to repeat that with her.

to them we added a jamaican mother from school and her son. she is part of a package deal, which includes her best friend, her best friend's husband and their two-year-old twin daughters. we met them a while ago and really liked them too, so having the whole package over was a pleasure, although we didn't get to talk to either of them much...each one was constantly chasing a two-year-old around!



and finally we invited some neighbors. the funny thing about them is that, for all our grumbling about the 60 bus we take to and from school, that's where we met these people. one is marta, who takes her 3-year-old son pere to school twice a week on that bus. she is a professor of american literature and has spent some time in the united states. her husband is a history professor. and then there's clara. a 14-year-old barak hit on one day...i mean asked to babysit. she grew up in berlin until two years ago, when her parents split. her mother is catalan, father german. anyway, she has babysat a couple times and we invited her mother and sister along to thanksgiving as well.

it was a first thanksgiving for a few people, a second for others, and for the rest of us a twist on our own traditions. barak was in charge of the turkey. he ordered one at a market not far from arel and dorian's school and went to pick it up on saturday. he brined it overnight and it turned out really well. there was some question as to whether it was done, but once everyone had gathered round the table to weigh in, miguel declared it cooked enough (well, if the doctor says so...) and we ate. i made stuffing for the first time...usually karen volunteers to make the stuffing. i looked up recipes on epicurious and sort of combined several to fit the ingredients i had on hand. everyone raved about the stuffing, but of course they have nothing to compare it with. arel said he's had better stuffing!

baked butternut squash with spices was also on the menu, along with sauteed chard with raisins and pinenuts in the catalan tradition. the jamaicans brought salad and delicious scalloped potatoes...dorian asked for the secret recipe. the only thing really missing was cranberry sauce, which one can find here, but was too much of a bother.

dessert was apple crisp (no pumpkin pie...too ambitious here), marta brought a huge ensaimada (pastry) and miguel brought ice cream. this being spain, there was also lots of wine and cava at hand, and everyone left stuffed to the gills. the strange mix mixed very well...