I love Thanksgiving. It falls around my birthday so the 4-day weekend always feels like a special birthday present. I come from a family of great cooks and the Thanksgiving menu has evolved over the years to include the traditional favorites along with an awesome pumpkin curry soup (thank you, Nikki) and my grandma’s antipasto (because we cannot have a family meal without an Italian dish). For the past decade, Matt and I escaped to our cottage the Friday after Thanksgiving to relax before the rush of the Christmas season. We would pull out the sofa bed and watch movies, eat turkey leftovers and not have any company. A real treat! This year is obviously different. Matt is working on Thursday as Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Peru (although I noticed that the stores do have “Black Friday” sales). So I am feeling a little bereft about missing Thanksgiving, while at the same time recognizing that my life is one long weekend and we have a lot to be thankful for.
Because I am not the only expat to feel this way, the American and Canadian expats held a Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday night. My friend Sarah, the school librarian, and I went to pick up the turkeys on Sunday morning. We took them to the host’s house to clean them and get them in the oven. While Sarah and I were each cleaning out the inside of a turkey (no tidy giblet bag here!) and plucking stray feathers, I realized my turkey still had its head! Thank goodness Sarah is from Alaska and no stranger to cleaning animals, so she gamely lopped off the heads of both turkeys. Interestingly, the feet were already off but included in the bag.
The feast was really nice; everyone chipped in with a dish or two and we had a traditional meal. A few Peruvians were invited as well as a peace corp volunteer, Michelle, who Sarah met at the grocery store. (When you hear someone speaking English around here, you tend to strike up a conversation.) My favorite non-traditional part of the meal was a pineapple salsa that Michelle’s Peruvian host mom made for her to bring to the event. Delicious and perfect with turkey. If I am ever home for Thanksgiving, I might just have to make this dish a new staple on the family menu.
So those of you at home, enjoy it all: the Macy’s parade, football, friends, family and food! Happy Thanksgiving!