We only arrived to the East coast of the US a few months ago and were not really accustomed with all the traditions being celebrated and observed here. One of the biggest rituals was about to hit us, which basically focuses on eating all day, watching football (NFL) and spend time with the family – yep, you guessed it it. It’s of course Thanksgiving.
Sure, we’ve seen plenty of movies to know that 90% of the American population participates in this event, and that turkey is the prime victim of these festivities, but we had never participated in such a feast.
We weren’t really too sure how we would celebrate our first Thanksgiving, but we were invited to attend a family dinner with some great new friends.
That’s fairly special, being invited to another family’s Thanksgiving dinner, so we were looking forward this day – embracing the American culture and traditions … and all in the name of eating loads of food.
The family who opened their doors to my family informed us to only bring a few things; the family and smiles. Pretty easy.
On the day, the country went into standstill. Well, everything closed at midday and the only thing that moved was the long tails of traffic as it snarled up/down the interstate highway, all “rushing” home to join their families.
As we arrived, we were greeted by smiles and hugs, dragging us into their home and we instantly felt welcome and part of something special. The kids quickly found a corner in the sofa and started to watch TV or play games. All the adults started to chat and laugh.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a large item. I should rather say, a huge beast lying on it’s back and squeezed into a tiny tray. It was of course the guest of honor; the turkey itself.
But, this was no ordinary turkey. Before it’s faith ended on this tray, it was probably roaming the woods at night, preying on smaller birds. This thing was enormous. Easily the size of a medium sized dog. In fact, it was a 21 lbs (9.5 kg) beast, stuffed full of spices and stuffing.
Looking around, I started to wonder if we would be able to even eat half this thing, considering we only were 11 people; 3 kids and 8 adults, hereof two vegetarians. A quick calculation revealed that we had to eat 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg) each, which didn’t include any sides!
Well, bring it on!
To build up a hunger, which was clearly needed, we went for a short 1 hour walk around the village, sucking up the nice brisk air of the mountains and enjoying the cool (but yet warm) autumn sun.
As we arrived back to the family mansion, it was time to take out the bird-thingy and set the table, all while NFL was taking up the TV and the sofa was occupied by most of the hungry squad.
The table was set and all the various dishes we strategically placed in the middle. It was soon clear that we needed more table space, especially considering that the turkey was going to take up half the available space and we still have to fit in 7-9 side dishes; bean bake, mash, sweet potato mash, rice, salad, gravy, corn, dressings and chips.
My son, who hadn’t eaten a proper solid meal for 2 weeks, was anxiously sitting in his chair, watching as the food was placed on the table. I swear, he was drooling and looking VERY much forward to the meal.
I prepared his plate and filled it with all the delicious food, sampling every dish. Something changed in his normally calm appearance, and he grabbed the plate furiously and started to eat before the plate had even touched the table. Wow! Haven’t seen him eat like this EVER.
The rest of the group started to gather around the table. We held hands and thanked the big Dude for the meal and for being together. Then – carnage – food everywhere. People munching and nobody talking. Just focused on the meal.
For the next 13 minutes, the table was in euphoria. We did what we do best – eat.
After the lovely food had been consumed, we sat back and let the belly breath. Just sitting there enjoying the feeling of your body digesting the food.
Bring on the dessert!
Round two was almost as good as round 1. The desserts were sampled and accompanied by tea or coffee. It was amazing how much my tummy could hold and even the kids kept going.
Hands up. I couldn’t eat anymore. But it was a fantastic way to celebrate thanksgiving.
Based on our first experience of Thanksgiving, we are absolutely going to participate in this food celebration next year … and the next year … and the next … and the next.
Prepare the feast