James and I had planned on doing something this year to celebrate Thanksgiving in South America but we weren’t sure what. I was thinking of maybe making a dish or two of typical Thanksgiving food but when we found out our friends Caitlin and Phillip were going to be traveling through Mendoza during the holiday, we all decided that we would make an honest attempt at a real Thanksgiving.
Caitlin is an American but her boyfriend is South African so he had never had a Thanksgiving since it’s not celebrated in SA. We were excited to show him what Thanksgiving is all about- food and football! (oh yeah, and giving thanks too 🙂 !). We made our shopping lists the day before and headed to the Mercado Central (a typical Argentine market) to see how much of it we could actually find. Caitlin was set on making a pumpkin pie but canned pumpkin is nowhere to be found here nor did we have a food processor. However, Caitlin found what resembled a pumpkin and we decided we’d figure out the rest later. I was set on making cornbread stuffing the way my mother in law Evelyn makes it with bacon, onions, and lots of poultry seasoning. Only problem is, there’s no “poultry seasoning” here. So I Googled the ingredients, translated them into Spanish, and surprisingly found most of them at the bulk spice section in the market.
With bags and bags of groceries, we headed back to the apartment we were renting and started brainstorming how we were going to make all this food with just a few pots and pans, and NO oven – oh yeah, didn’t I mention that? The apartment we’re staying in has an oven and stove but when we try to use the oven it lets out tons of fumes and exhaust into the kitchen – not to mention it leaves a grey soot all over whatever you’re cooking. Unfortunately, this meant a Turkey was out of the question.
We celebrated the first half of Thursday in traditional Thanksgiving style – cooking, cooking, cooking. Caitlin got creative with the pumpkin and by steaming it, mashing it, and then forcing all of it through a strainer, it closely resembled canned pumpkin. Through the help of Google, we found ways to cook everything on the stove (including the pumpkin pie!). We had to settle for fried chicken instead of turkey.
While we were cooking, James found some of the football games online and started explaining the rules to Phillip so he could have the whole Thanksgiving experience.
And then we ate!
…and then we watched the Aggies lose so we ate some more to drown our sorrows.
This year we are so thankful for this opportunity to live in South America and experience a different place and people. We are thankful for our family who we miss so much. We are thankful for new friends. We are thankful for each other.