Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving again

A photo posted by arthur_amerinz (@arthur_amerinz) on

It’s Thanksgiving again, a day that means little to New Zealanders, regardless of whether we expat Americans observe it Thursday, or today—which is Thursday in the USA. It turned out to be a very busy day, so I thought I’d share the two photos I posted to Instagram today, because I’m a little too tired to do a long post.

The day began with my normal Friday chores, and then I headed out to a specialist grocery store, popular with the upper middle class (and those who want to be); the carpark was filled with Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and the top range of many other makers. A large number were SUVs.

This ended up being a very big deal because it took forever to get there due to horrible traffic. And, in the end, I didn’t even get anything useful for tonight’s dinner. Worse, the trip to the next grocery store, one of the ones I go to all the time, was every bit as slow as the first trip.

The second grocery store was much better. I ran into an old friend and co-worker, and it was great to catch up. I got everything I was looking for, and easily. It was in contrast to the other store—and more real, somehow.

Once I got home, later than I’d planned, I had a quick lunch and set about the first task: Making my pumpkin pies. I decided to try making some miniature pies this year, after I saw a similar idea shared on Facebook. I decided to simplify it and make mine more pie-like (the inspiration was made in muffin tins).

I grossly underestimated how much time it would take to make the little pies (the pasty was the hold-up), so I quickly made a second large pie, and ended up with seven little pies (six of which are in the photo below; a seventh was a bit overdone).

This year, I got a turkey roll wrapped around an orange and cranberry stuffing, so I popped that in the oven while the pies were finishing baking. I followed the instructions carefully, but it could have done with a bit less time than that; it wasn’t dried out, but the outside was overly done.

I also made mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and we had small corn on the cob. I decided against making kumara (similar to sweet potato) because we already had a lot of food, and I didn't make cornbread because NZ grocery stores don’t sell coarse cornmeal, just polenta, which is too fine. Coarse cornmeal is one of the things I’d hoped—in vain, as it turned out—to find at that specialist grocery store.

The dinner, ready to be consumed, is in the photo up top.

Dessert was the mini pumpkin pies, which were really nice and one was just enough. I think I’ll do that again, but maybe have someone help me, or else, have plenty of time to prepare them.

I seldom do Thanksgiving Dinner anymore, mainly because there’s always something on around that time. But when I do, I like to incorporate some of my family traditions, modified for what’s available (and what I have time for) in New Zealand.

What I like most about Thanksgiving is something that was never part of my family’s traditions: Reflecting on what I’m thankful for. There’s Nigel, obviously, and also my family by blood, marriage, and choice, spread all over the planet, all of whom make my life better. And this year I’m particularly thankful for excellent medical care that made it far more likely that I’ll live to see more Thanksgiving Days.

Thanksgiving may mean little to New Zealanders, but it still means a lot to me. And that’s truly enough.

Previous posts on Thanksgiving

Winner winner turkey dinner (2015)
Turkey Day (2014)
No thanks (2013)
Thanksgiving thoughts (2012)
Happy Thanksgiving (2011)
Another expat Thanksgiving (2010)
Thanksgiving (2008)
Home for the holidays (2007)
Thanksgiving Downunder (2006)

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