a big beautiful mess

День Благодарения

Nils, me, Zhenya, Sveta, Nastya

Yesterday the “Club of American Culture” celebrated Thanksgiving– which turned out to be just me; Elena Petrovna; Nils, the Dutch teacher from upstairs; Zhenya, one of the high school kids I met at the library a couple of weeks ago; and two university students. If anybody is in need of half a pre-cooked chicken and willing to pay postage, I can hook you up.

It was a nice little party, all told. We ate chicken and then went straight to dessert! I made Linda Lang-Gun’s famous sweet potatoes, except that the sweet potatoes were pumpkin instead. Considering that I’d never cooked this before, and that I’d never cooked pumpkin before, and that I started cooking just two hours before I was supposed to meet Elena Petrovna at the university, and that I had to measure out the dry ingredients in increments of 15 mL with a tablespoon, and that the brown sugar I bought turned out to be in rock-hard chunks that I had to melt in the microwave with butter, it came out magnificently! Actually, even disregarding all those things, it came out magnificently. After eating, we made hand turkeys and watched some Charlie Brown, in true American childhood fashion, and we all told what we were thankful for. And then the conversation drifted from comparisons of traditions in our various cultures to talk about the university, to how many languages and countries Nils and I have under our belts, to Zhenya’s 2,500 km car trip across Europe, to the weather. Always the weather.

I think that my attitude shift regarding the club needs to go a step further. I want to keep hanging out and chatting and making connections like we did last night, but without stressing out about chicken beforehand.

1 Comment

  1. 5 December 2011    

    My favorite holiday. My mother never really liked it, and as I grew older she invested less and less in it. I think she felt pressured to really “perform,” have an elaborate meal, great food, wonderful settings, and on and on. We did not have the resources for that, and I don’t think she had much success as a cook. She certainly did not shine at it. By the time I reached my teens we had turkey loaf (!) for Thanksgiving.
    I think I came to love the holiday, though, thanks to Foster Jones’ celebration of a New England tradition, and then later David D. and I had good success when we put on Thanksgiving at 124.

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