19 November 2008

Around the bend

Being in England got me in the Christmas spirit already--the brisk cold, and so many cozy shops smelling of cinnamon and selling rustic wooden ornaments and berry wreaths--but we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet!

I'm sad to be missing my family's celebrations this year. My sister is hosting for the first time and oh how I wish I could be there to hang with everyone, especially the adorable nephews, who are all three at various stages that make you want to monch on them. The oldest showed me a paper plate turkey that he made yesterday, complete with feathers. Which he then proceeded to pull off and pile on top of his head, with the most winningly sweet smile you ever did see.

But I too will be making a Thanksgiving dinner (a day later), to introduce the Mister's family to this concept. I already know they will find certain things strange: mixing all of the dishes on the same plate! sweet foods next to savory foods! sweet-sour cranberries! pumpkin pie! But I'm hoping they'll like it nonetheless. We don't have enough chairs for everybody, and we'll have to use those antique plates that came with the house and that are kind of small, but we'll make it work. By the way, I love how Thanksgiving is translated here: acció de gràcies, or "action of thanks," which is so lovably literal.

I have an appointment with the Mister's grandmother to go down to the Boqueria and order a gall d'indi ("Indian rooster," i.e, turkey), which I plan to make even if I don't eat it myself. Maybe I will. We'll see. The last time I was involved in preparing a turkey without my mother around was with my housemates in Oxford. The seven of us put on a Thanksgiving meal for some British friends, and I only vaguely remember how it all came together, although I do remember the good feeling after everybody ate and we were all splayed out on the couches.

And I'm still mulling over the menu, unsure of how much I can prepare ahead of time and how it will all come together logistically in my wee kitchen, and how much to make (it'll be in the evening, so I don't want to overdo it), but in any case I know it will be strictly traditional. For one's first Thanksgiving, one should eat: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry, squash or sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Right? It's just a question of which recipes to use, where to get the ingredients (the Mister may have to bring me cranberries from Brussels), and how to bring it all together. I'm smacking my lips already.

Today I'm thankful for the coming holidays, for food and family on two sides of the ocean.


kate said...

This sounds so lovely! I, too, am sad not to be with friends and family this Thanksgiving... I don't know yet if/how we'll celebrate. Have fun preparing! I've you have nay interest, I have the Thanksgiving menu w/ recipes from Cook's Illustrated.

Anonymous said...

Hey Robin! This is Jorge writing from the Eixample district in Barcelona. I am from Caracas, Venezuela and I was hoping to exchange some ideas on this city that we are living in. Your blog seems to show great insights upon life in general and I wanted to see if some of my perceptions of the city match the daily reality of this mediterranean metropolis. I will be doing a master's degree for the next 2 years at the University of Barcelona and it would be nice to make some international friends while I am here. Hope to hear from you soon, sincerely,