Friday, November 28, 2008

homemade thanksgiving

today is my third day in a row cooking for one single meal. my roommate is laughing at me and i admit i'm pretty amazed at my own dedication to this thanksgiving - for no apparent reason. there are certain food items that i havent been able to find ready-made here in nottingham, so i've decided to cook them from scratch. sometimes when i think i can't have something, i start to crave it. plus, i just moved into a new partly-furnished apartment and have had to discover what cooking items did not come with the place, so i've had to do some domestic shopping to prepare!

the menu:

- veggies and yogurt-dill dip (to warm up our palettes)
- roast chicken (the turkeys just didnt look that good and i actually like chicken better)
- my own holiday cous-cous stuffing (the one recipe my mom has stolen from me ;)
- mashed potatoes and gravy (dedicated to cori-sa!)
- green bean casserole (with homemade french fried onions!)
- cranberry sauce (my first time!)
- three-seed rolls (hooray for yummy yeast bread!)
- not pumpkin pie (couldnt find pumpkins, so i made a butternut squash pie!)
- with whipped cream!

the effort i've put into the meal represents two things, i think.
1) i've invited a few people to my thanksgiving dinner who i'd like to thank for welcoming me so well to this new country (limited by table space and oven size, sorry i couldnt invite everyone i'd like...).
2) i'm really missing *all* of my family right now... and our gargantuan rent-out-a-hall, assembly line, 4-turkey, dessert-table, beer-from-a-keg, wine-from-a-box, kids-running-mad, games-after-dinner, slip-around-on-the-ice-outside thanksgiving celebration!

one side of my family gathers every year in a huge hall below the church that my grandfather attended as a child. all my aunts and uncles and cousins gather (i have about 20 cousins on that side), plus my grandpa's siblings, their kids (my moms cousins), their kids (my second cousins once removed?), and then the next generation of children (my niece and nephew, for example). its easily 100 people (maybe more?). phew!

the oldest generations (my mom's aunts) organize the feast. they are, of course, in charge of the turkeys (more than two, less than five). they call around to the individual members of the family reporting what they should bring: appetizers, candied yams, green bean casserole, glazed carrots, cheesey broccoli casserole, the strange jello fruit thing, apple pie, pumpkin pie, etc... before lining up to fill our plates, we stand together holding hands while my grandpa reflects on the special day with his full family. i adore my his passionate prayer before the meal. even with so many family members, whose names i struggle to remember, but whose features are connected to my own... my grandpa's words bring us all together in appreciation of our fondness for each other and our time spent together.

so as i'm cooking all this food, i'm thinking about my family back home, and missing their laughter. i'm especially thankful to them for being so supportive of me during all the uncommon endeavors i've attempted in life - including my decision to move so far away from them to pursue my own selfish exploration of the universe. thank you!


Anonymous said...

Amanda, your post made me tear up...(maybe I'm feeling sentimental today). You are missed on thanksgiving and your meal sounds delicious! I love you, Alisa

Julia said...

Oh, your meal sounds fantastic! I hope your day is lovely and the bittersweet adventure of being far from home feels like a reason to give thanks (if not without its drawbacks) today.

lalamandala said...

we missed you! it was exactly as you so perfectly described down to the strange jello thing ;) i sent pics so you can see the family prayer roundup and a few bits of the hoard. Hugs and belly rubs, Lara

Joanna said...

Hey .. I hope your dinner was as good as it sounds, and that the three-seed rolls were good (thanks for the link). Thanksgiving must be odd without your family, but thanks be for friends

Happy holidays

Unknown said...

thanks for the recipe, joanna! the rolls came out wonderfully using plain flour, sunflower seeds and flax seeds!