Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

. . . Hurray for the Pumpkin Pie . . .

“You’ve worked HARD!” our water aerobics instructor told us. “You get a free pass tomorrow; you can eat anything!”

I wish she hadn’t said that. We did work hard, but it wasn’t just one day of feasting, it was pretty much four days, and we enjoyed ourselves too much. No matter how hard we had worked Wednesday morning, it wasn’t enough to cover four days.

Arriving at Papa’s and Grammy’s we were welcomed with a bubbling gumbo, a combined effort of Papa and Grammy; Grammy did all the shopping and chopping, and PaPa worked the roux, which is the butter and flour combination that makes that smoky flavored base for the gumbo. They had just finished cleaning and deveining about 40 pounds of shrimp for Thanksgiving, and threw a few in the gumbo. Oh YUM. The next morning was full of preparations, and then, mid-morning, the feasting began, with all the guys shucking oysters and eating boiled shrimp. As you drive up, you can smell smoke from an outdoor fire, and chairs and tables are out everywhere, but the shucking goes on down near the creek:

The house is beautiful, spacious and welcoming for so many people. The happy baby, who is now a happy toddler, was in heaven – he was surrounded by boy toys – tractors and golf carts and a Model A and all sorts of age appropriate toys, as well as cousins, aunts, uncles and a lot of hilarious rough housing. Why is it kids just love the terror of being turned upside-down?

For me, this was the best Thanksgiving with the family; finally I am beginning to figure out who is who from year to year. I still have to ask questions, but they seem more comfortable with me, and I had some really good conversations, sort of beyond the polite-passing-the-time conversations. I’m not that great in big crowds, but now I am beginning to have some good one-on-ones, and for me, that’s a great Thanksgiving.

And on, man, the food. Tables and tables of food. I don’t know how they do it, but I saw the list of cakes, and there must have been twenty cakes on THE LIST. They each have responsibilities, and somehow, it all works.

Three turkeys, all carved, and so much dressing (which I grew up calling stuffing, it all depends on where you grew up):

That green container is AdventureMan’s first foray into cranberry chutney. This one was a little tart, but tasty. As are darling daughter in law so diplomatically put it, “I would probably like it more if my taste buds were accustomed to having cranberries without sugar.”

About half of the sides were sweet potato casseroles; you can’t believe how good these are. This year this front dish was one of the favorites, squash cassarole:

This photo doesn’t begin to do justice to the desserts – holy smokes:

So the biggest brother blessed the food and we ate around one, then we visited for a few hours, people going back and grazing a little. Then the next generation cleaned everything up and got all the food packaged up and put away. About an hour later, that broccoli salad started calling me, and I went out to try a little more and discovered it was all put away, but a partner in crime knew where it was, and we pulled it out and had some, which started a whole landslide of second-platers, just when everything had been all put away, LLOOLLL!

It was a great day, a day full of thanks for all the things in life that really matter.

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November 28, 2011 - Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Diet / Weight Loss, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Food, Friends & Friendship, Thanksgiving

5 Comments »

  1. OK, if you’re having shrimp and oysters for Thanksgiving, I want to be there! It all looks like Southern food at its finest–lucky you! Don’t sweat the calories–you didn’t cook it and you didn’t eat it at home so it doesn’t count! LOL!

    Comment by momcat | November 28, 2011 | Reply

  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Reminds me of my family – location and all. Someone told me the basic difference between dressing and stuffing is whether it was cooked in a pan or in the bird, respectively, since either can be made from a variety of breads (e.g., biscuit, cornbread, etc.)

    Thankfully, Thanksgiving only comes once a year!

    Comment by Ken | November 28, 2011 | Reply

  3. Oh Momcat, if only that were true! My scales told a different story! There is more to come, you will see. But yes, it was oysters and shrimp and some of the best food EVER.

    Ken, I remember, you have mentioned before that your gatherings are a lot like this one. I hope you get to enjoy one again soon. 🙂 And yes, we used to do stuffing inside turkeys, but I think it is so dangerous that few people do that anymore. So these days, it’s probably all dressing! Did you get some gobble gobble in Kuwait?

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 28, 2011 | Reply

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  5. I’ve been able to take a new job that took me out of Kuwait and back to the US. I’m still not in my hometown or state with family but a heck of lot closer! I got to go home for Thanksgiving since I probably won’t get to go home for Christmas (which is insanely ironic that I made it home every Christmas when I was 7K miles away but can’t now that I’m only 700 miles away.)

    Comment by Ken | December 3, 2011 | Reply


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