Expat Thanksgiving 2011

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One of the days when I get the most homesick has to be Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has always been a time for me and my family, especially my mom. Seeing everyone’s Turkey Day statuses on Thursday while I had to work 9 hours was less than thrilling. Last year in Córdoba, my Spanish friend C’s family let us celebrate at her house. A bunch of fellow Mount Holyoke girls and I gathered at their house on Friday, cooking all afternoon in time for a big dinner. You can read more about it here. I spent the week up to Thanksgiving attempting to teach my students about Pilgrims and Indians, Thanksgiving football and Black Friday. I don’t think they got it, and if they didn’t think Americans were completely nuts before, they do now since I showed them this Black Friday Stampede video. Freaking Walmart.

This year my friend C and I decided we were going to throw a big Thanksgiving Day feast for some of our American friends here in Logroño along with a bunch of her boyfriend J’s Spanish friends. My friend M came up from Salamanca to visit and adding in some friends from Belgium and France, it was a truly multicultural dinner. Knowing how hard it can be to procure a whole turkey in this country, I braved the butcher’s shop across from my apartment to order one a few weeks ago. I wish I had taken a picture of the guy’s face when I told him I wanted a whole, 9 kilo (20lb) turkey! I also couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty knowing that I was probably choosing the poor turkey’s death date! I named him Pavarotti (since turkey in Spanish is pavo hehe).

We decided to cook and have the dinner on the Saturday after Thanksgiving when we would all be off from work and also to celebrate it in J’s family’s merendero in his hometown of Albelda. A merendero is a Spanish phenomenon, which is basically a big dining, kitchen party place separate from your house. Perfect for big dinners and celebrations. I picked up the turkey the day before, and it was fresh. I mean fresh as in it still had its feet, neck and a bunch of feathers still stuck in it. Sigh. Somethings I will never get used to here.

We spent the whole day baking the turkey, which for us was challenging since we hardly ever cook turkey along with having a tiny oven in Celsius and no baster. We also hoarded up on some American goodies back home thanks to J’s recent trip to Miami, like vanilla extract, brown sugar, canned pumpkin, and crisco so we could bake some delicious favorites like pumpkin pies and my famous sweet potato casserole (which was a HUGE hit!!) Everyone brought a dish so we ended up with way too much food for 25 people, eating dinner around 11pm and laying around in various stages of food comas and wine inebriation gabbing away in English and Spanish and dancing til 4am. All in all it was a great day!

I only remembered my camera while we were cooking and about halfway through dinner, otherwise I would have had way more photos to share!!

How was your Thanksgiving this year? Have you ever celebrated Thanksgiving abroad?








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4 Comments on “Expat Thanksgiving 2011

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  1. Wow, what an awesome place to trhow Thanksgiving dinner! Last year my pals and I were squeezed into a teeny tiny apartment where the hostess tackled turkey-making without an oven. Glad you got to celebrate the day in style!

  2. Oh man, we dont have a corte in logroño which blows, but luckily we have the cutest fruit, veggie and meat market at the end of my street and i was able to order a turkey in advance. meat does taste better in spain, except for ground beef. i hate the ground beef here

  3. That is one sweet merendero!

    Last year, my suegros ordered the pava (yes, pava, no pavo) from Corte too. It was actually way better than ours this year and I am attributing it to the fact that the meat in Spain is probably not factory farmed.

    (Freaking Walmart. Hahahaha.)

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