It’s Thanksgiving, y’all! This was my first major holiday in Spain to have missed with my family. Consequentially, this was also the first Thanksgiving in 8 years in which I did not have to work at my restaurant job and let me tell you I LOVED it this year. The trade-off was missing the big day with my family but thanks to technology I was still able to send iMessages back and forth and share photos.
I may have managed to get out of working at a restaurant that day but that didn’t keep from cooking dinner for the holiday! May I present to you my Spanish friendsgiving? A few fellow expats and I myself in an attempt to swat away homesickness joined together for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Being the social gals that we are and mostly because we had enough tables to seat everyone, my roommate and I hosted the dinner in our apartment.
As the hostesses, we were of course responsible for the turkey! Believe it or not, you can indeed find a whole turkey here in Spain! It just takes a while to get it all together. My roommate found a grocery store in the northern part of the city where she tutors in the evenings which advertised their pre-order deal for Thanksgiving turkeys. This put her in charge of bringing home the beast, a 10 pound bird by our estimates. I then prepared it by giving it a full body massage with butter and herbs and stuffing it’s gut with chopped and seasoned apples, onions, and carrots. At this point, it had to leave our apartment because our tiny convection oven was not going to hold this bird! That put me on a 5 minute walk across the plaza to the apartment of my co-teacher, Elle, who indeed had a full size oven and graciously let me use it for 3 1/2 hours. After his time in the oven, I needed some help carrying the bird back to my place. This thing was heavy, sloshing with butter and steaming hot. I enlisted the hands of our friend Andrew to help me tandem carry the roast bird back to my flat. Thankfully (see what I did there?) no problems at all were encountered either way with the in transit feast.
Of course, a turkey isn’t enough so I made a pot of corn and cornbread dressing to set out on the table. Look at that butter, y’all. When in doubt, just dump a bunch of butter on your food and hope for the best. That’s my theory and it seems to have worked out all right.
Everyone who came to the dinner brought something to share and all of the food was so dang good. I made the cornbread dressing and while it’s nowhere near as good as my grandmother’s, it got the job done. I think that everyone there, or maybe just me, could have eaten the entire pan of sweet potato casserole that my roommate made. It was a lovely, cozy evening to sit around with everyone at a big table, eat the comfort foods of home, and talk and drink wine. It just goes to show that no matter where you are, you can still enjoy your own culture’s traditions and share it with new friends.