A Very TEFL Thanksgiving: The Sequel
After a marvelous Thanksgiving Day dinner hosted by a friend on the real Thanksgiving, I had my own dinner to cook up on Friday. I had a list of tasks to take care of in the morning and so returned home at about 2, a bit worried that it might not be enough time to prepare the food for my guests who were coming at 7 and clean the flat, which was, quite frankly, a disaster. Luckily, (like any good teacher) I had prepared as much as possible in advance. This meant that half of the applesauce was made and my green beans had been cut and cooked.
A few of the challenges I faced, which may be relevant for anyone trying to prepare a “national” meal from abroad:
- Turkey is not common here (Solution: serve chicken)
- I am somewhat vegetarian, and though I don’t mind serving meat, I don’t trust myself to cook it (Solution: take advantage of ready to eat chicken from Tesco)
- My oven doesn’t have degrees of either the Celsius or Fahrenheit variety, only numbers 1-9 (Solution: take a wild guess and monitor closely)
- Finding the exact spices I need, in the form I need them, is not exactly easy (Solution: chai masala in applesauce, Vegeta instead of black pepper if the mini grocery store is out)
- My dishes consist of two plates and a bowl (Solution: borrow additional plates from a friendly neighbor and wash silverware discreetly between courses)
- My oven is small and my minuscule freezer has nearly become a block of ice (Solution: plan carefully in advance for what is refrigerated, frozen and cooked where)
Despite these challenges, the dinner went fabulously. Four guests from three countries turned up and they filled my kitchen perfectly. We ate, talked and drank wine and Kofola. My menu did not include cranberry sauce as cranberries are hard to find here, but to my pleasant surprise, one guest brought palacinke (crepes/pancakes) with cranberry filling (or something similar) without even knowing that cranberries are a big Thanksgiving food.
What I like about this holiday is that, despite that it comes from the US, it is not connected to the state or to any one religion and because of this has the potential for being very inclusive. I’m happy (not to mention relieved) that I prepared a meal that people could actually eat (and hey! no reports of illness yet) but happier still that I had the chance to share the evening and the holiday for the second night in a row with a great group of people.