I’m a little behind on my blogs but I’m trying to get caught up. While we weren’t able to celebrate Thanksgiving on the actual date, we were able to celebrate at a later date. And it turned out it was more special because we were able to celebrate with Blanca and Cecilia’s families in Alejandría. On the actual date Kathy and I had guacamole and chips for dinner. But for our special celebration we went all out.
Chicken with stuffing
Honey glazed carrots with cranberries
We went out to buy the potatoes, carrots, onions bread, and butter at the market, and started making things the night before. When we got home I worked on cutting up the bread for the stuffing so it could dry a little and Kathy worked on the banana bread. It was good to get a couple things done ahead of time.
Cutting up bread for stuffing
The makings of banana bread
The next day it was time to started cooking. Kathy peeled and sliced carrots. I worked on peeling and slicing potatoes since Kathy said that would be her purgatory. Kathy got all the chicken innards out of the bag they were in and rinsed them before cooking. We debated whether or not to throw the feet into the pot and ultimately decided we’d add them for flavor and then crisp them in the oven. Then we worked on the stuffing and finally the chickens.
At some point I made the comment that it really was like Thanksgiving because the women (Kathy and me) were in the kitchen cooking while the guys (Elmer and Alejandro) were watching fútbol. Then it was time we cooked the carrots and potatoes, and before we knew it the chicken was done. We got everything into pots or bowls and loaded it all in the truck.
Not including Kathy and myself in attendance were:
Blanca – Pastoral Team
Balmore – Pastoral Team, Blanca’s husband
Ángela (Blanca’s mom)
Romulo (Blanca’s dad)
Margot (Blanca’s sister)
Cecilia – Pastoral Team
Idalia – Pastoral Team collaborator, Cecilia’s sister
Rosa – Cecilia’s mom
Alejandro – Cecilia’s brother
Elmer – Cecilia’s son
Marvin – Cecilia’s son
Freddy – Cecilia’s nephew
Look out!! She's got knives!
The boys were watching futbol
I look a little spacey peeling potatoes
The carrots were huge
Mmmm, chicken feet and organs
Bread and spices
Stuffing the chickens
When we got to Alejandría we parked the truck and carried all the food across the ravine and up to Blanca’s house. Kathy and I went straight into the kitchen and had everyone else leave. We would be the only ones working to get the meal ready. We set the food on the various comales (earthenware pans) to heat it up and got out the plates, cups, and napkins. Then we opened a bottle of wine and toasted our efforts.
Once everything was ready we set it out on a table so people could serve themselves. Kathy explained the tradition of Thanksgiving in the US and Balmore said a prayer Then it was time to eat! Everyone took turns scooping food onto their plates. We encouraged them to try a little of everything even if they didn’t like it. Foods like stuffing and gravy aren’t typical foods here. Carrots and potatoes are common but not the way we cooked them. But they all tried everything and several people cleaned their plates. We also served a little bit of red wine to everyone except the kids.
Food loaded in the back of the pickup
Heating up the food
The napkins I made with a turkey stamp on them
We're ready to eat!
Rosa getting some food
Margot tried and ate all her food
Idalia got a big piece of chicken
Elmer tried to take an entire chicken
One at a time
Angela enjoying her meal
Romulo's meal was light on salt
Opening the second bottle of wine
My plate, with lots of mashed potatoes
Dessert & Gifts
Then it was time for dessert: banana bread from local bananas and coffee from Blanca’s family’s finca. As people ate their bread I presented Blanca and Cecilia with two photo albums. One was for Blanca’s family and the other for Cecilia’s family. The albums had pictures that I’d taken throughout the year. I wrote little comments beside each picture and put stickers in the book. It was as close to a scrapbook as I get. And I’m pleased to say that everyone loved the photo albums.
Soon it was time to return to Berlín so we loaded up the dirty dishes, leaving a lot of the leftover food behind. We carried everything back to the truck and dropped off several people at someone’s house along the way home. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving. One that I’ll never forget.
Looking at her family's album
Lots of fun
Sharing the photos with family
Let's push this truck up the road
Freddy can do it!