Happy Thanksgiving from down under
22 November 2012 | Kettering, TAS
Thanksgiving is just another Thursday here in Tasmania... and everywhere else, I guess, except the US. We almost missed it this year. I always thought it was the LAST Thursday in November, but it's actually the FOURTH Thursday in November. This does not usually present a problem except when there are five Thursdays in the month...like this month, for instance. Our Australian calendar certainly doesn't show it as a holiday. Good thing Lin mentioned it in her email or we would have missed a major American celebration. Having just recuperated from my birthday, gearing up to eat another large meal with special treats was probably unwise, but you gotta do what you gotta do. We have a one-day advantage time-wise over the States, so I can report Thanksgiving before you even lift your fork for that first bite of turkey swimming in gravy.
We usually go to the supermarket, find a turkey and measure it to make sure it'll fit in our little oven (that always elicits some stares from the locals). We've had problems the last couple years finding turkeys, but we managed to find a large breast and two turkey shanks aka drumsticks to roast up this year. Buying a turkey in Australia requires taking out a small mortgage. They're very expensive, but it's Thanksgiving. What are you going to do?
One of the challenges on the boat includes finding enough space in the fridge to store everything in advance. While we had the marina's van we bought everything we needed and our tiny fridge was crammed to bursting with holiday food. Finding enough pots and pans to cook everything qualifies as a challenge as does finding enough room to prepare everything. And then there's also sitting six people around our saloon table; and most importantly, figuring out the logistics for getting everything cooked and ready for serving simultaneously with a small oven and only two working burners on the propane stove. We always manage. It just takes some forethought.
It was a gray November day which sounds just like Thanksgiving in New England when I was a kid. Kind of raw, but no threat of snow here. There's always an air of expectancy, a childlike thrill on a holiday morning. We had our list going...clean the boat, make the stuffing, don't forget to chill the wine, don't forget to cook the turkey. As we get older, even the more obvious things go on the list.
David made a pumpkin pie and fresh dinner rolls. I was preparing the rest of the menu. We whistled and sang as we worked, bumping into each other and constantly trading places in our little galley. It was a most enjoyable morning. We had the whole day to prepare since some of our guests had to work today and dinner was planned for around 7pm.
We like celebrating Thanksgiving with friends. Everyone enjoys a good celebration and a good meal. Sharing it with non-Americans is a good cultural exchange. We invited Aussie friends Craig (of raptor and reptile fame) and his partner, Jody, as well as our boat-watching friends, Ian and Wendy. Definitely a full table for Nine of Cups. Neither couple knew much about our US Thanksgiving (why would they?), so we gave them the romanticized Pilgrim and Indians spiel. We did not, however, sing the Gobble, Gobble Turkey Thanksgiving song...too much American culture.
The menu included the usual turkey with stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans almondine, squash, cranberry sauce. I searched and searched for either fresh or frozen cranberries to make our traditional Cranberry Pudding for dessert, but to no avail. Instead for dessert, we settled on a freshly made pumpkin pie a la David and blueberry crisp a la Marcie with freshly whipped cream. Nobody complained and no one left the table hungry.
We do count our many blessings on this day. To have each other and Cups and to live the life we lead goes beyond the usual “blessings” category. We're blessedly fortunate.
One other thing about Thanksgiving...it signals the start of the Christmas season. That means, Christmas music is allowed on Nine of Cups from now till Christmas Day … yet another thing to be thankful for. The Captain does not agree. Fa la la la, la la la la