Wednesday, December 3, 2008


After last year's surprisingly successful Thanksgiving, I thought we'd take on an even more ambitious double Thanksgiving this year. Meaning YD was hosting a dinner Friday night and I wanted to make one on Saturday for our German family as well. Let's get cooking!

The Young Democrats Abroad has officially disbanded into some American expats hanging out. I volunteered us to bring sweet potatoes and pecan pie, two dishes requiring PECANS which I didn't realize until the day-of weren't "Mandeln." Mandeln are almonds, and one of 3 types of nuts commercially available in Germany. Heide (German host mom) and I even went to Metro the fancy German-version of Costco on a hunt, but alack, it was destined to be almond pie. Ryan was dismayed, but it was still pretty good.

Our friends Brian and Christian offered up there place for the dinner and laid a beautiful table. We met another married couple who's half German half American. They actually got married the day before us. But the high point of the evening was definitely the food. I sat next to Sonia and we both ate so much that we had to lie on the couch with our pants unbuttoned before the dessert course. But of course we had to eat dessert. Ryan wussed out of dessert, which he will never live down, as I won't ever live down confusing almonds and pecans. Oh well.

Saturday I was still feeling full, and regretting back-to-back Thanksgiving meals. (Will my digestive system ever forgive me?) Ryan was furiously revising his master's thesis (due Monday) as I took charge of the cooking. Everything went according to plan except the cranberries. Apparently small boxes with pictures of jello on them aren't actually jello. We served the cranberries anyway, even though they were rather liquid.

Our friend Gwendolyn came over to help with last-minute prep, the kids ran in the kitchen and wanted to play, and our turkey legs appeared underdone! Things were getting hectic and we were still waiting for our final guests to arrive. They were 20 minutes late, which led to a frenzy of taking food out of the oven, then shoving it back in, then worrying it would by dry. But finally we all assembled around the table and dug in. Our German guests, Robbie and Erica, were oddly fascinated by the stuffing. Some people even liked the cranberries. And the turkey was perfect. I paced myself better this time and we all enjoyed our pie with Schnapps, and later Rum. German people really like liquor.

As I look back at last year, it seems a million years away. We were living in an awful house in the middle of England. I worked in a fruit and veg stand and was so homesick all the time. I feel like a completely different person today. And even though its had rough spots, I'm really thankful for everything that happened in the last year. I've learned so much and feel really lucky :)

-A, my 2-year old charge, is learning Denglish (Deutsch+English) and one of his favorite words is "Dank you." Add to that the few incorrect German words I've taught him and I think my work is done here.
-"Metro" the German Costco also has free samples. But they don't have anyone supervising them, nor any takers. I almost cruised for a 2nd brownie, but Heide warned me there was a store employee spying on me across the aisle. Spooky! It was comforting to see suitcase-sized tubs of laundry detergent and cheese blocks the size of pillows again.

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