Monday, November 29, 2010

Accion de Gracias - Thanksgiving in Barcelona

We have a lot to be thankful in our house this year.  We've had an amazing year with an opportunity to experience a different way of life that most people don't ever get to have.  We both have jobs that we love (and in this economy the fact that we have jobs is something to be thankful for as well).  We've been able to travel this year to new places and to give our children the opportunity to experience cultures that they would not have normally seen at home.  And of course we're lucky to have our health as well - something we can't forget to mention (knock on wood). 

However, Thanksgiving was also our first major family holiday this year without our family and friends and it all seemed a bit surreal to me.  If it weren't for all of the Happy Thanksgivings on my facebook I don't think it would have seemed any different from any other day.  Josh had work, the kids had school.  And they don't celebrate it here in Spain.  So it took a conscious effort on our part to make sure that we celebrated - to continue a tradition that we have at home for not just us but also for the kids. 

I was a little anxious about the turkey.  Pavo, as it's called here, is not a very popular meat and so not many stores even carry turkey breast, none that I've seen have ground turkey and you can bet my luck on finding a whole turkey.  Which meant that I had to order a turkey... in Spanish. 

Off I went to my mercat on Monday in search of a chicken vendor that could sell me a turkey.  And needless to say I want to make sure it's a whole turkey and yet, no head and no feathers.  Hmmm... a challenge for sure.  I went up to one of the stalls and saw a turkey on display which was encouraging because it means that they can get them.  I wasn't sure if I could take that one (and then freeze it since it would otherwise sit for a full week in my fridge) but for the life of me couldn't understand what she meant when she kept pointing at the breast and yet said pavo entera (entera is whole).  Turns out it was that this particular turkey was missing a breast that someone else had bought separately.  At least I understood in the long run.  Another woman at the stall approached me and asked me if it was for Thanksgiving which I did understand and told her I'd like a whole turkey for Friday.  She asked me the weight and I'm still not so great with the kilos versus pounds so I just told her 3 adults (our original plan) and two small children.  She suggested 4.5 kilos - about 10 pounds.  Ahhhh mission accomplished!  I had no idea how much my turkey would cost but put down my 5 euro deposit and moved along for the day.

My next mission - cranberry sauce and gravy mix.  I know that the DeliShop, my local American store, carries it.  And thinking Spanish-like I hadn't been in a rush to get it.  However, I wasn't thinking like the American I am and the fact that other ex-pats like myself might want it for their Thanksgivings.  And so they were out of it.  Thankfully their other location (which is an additional 20 minute walk from the first one) had some so I bought two cans!  Josh had brought stuffing from the States when he was home a few weeks ago and all we need now is gravy.

Whew this is like an all week adventure!  On Thursday I headed down to the British store which takes me about 45 mins to get to.  Thankfully they had gravy mix so it was a trip well worth it.  My meal, aside from the salad fixings and potatoes we'd get at the last minute, is complete!!

Josh asked a few friends from work who did not make it home for the holidays to join us so while we celebrate on Sunday, we will be joined by our friend Alefiya and Josh's co-workers - so we're creating a family here where we had none - a really good feeling to know that we are finding ways to make do not with less but with different circumstances and still to make it special.

On Thanksgiving day, I took kids out of school early and went to my friend Brenda's house to watch the Thanksgiving parade - something traditional on our not so traditional day.  However, as somewhat expected, the kids didn't really care much about it but it was still nice to do something "traditional".

On Friday I picked up the turkey!  I was a little anxious getting there, but thankfully there was no head and just a few feathers.  I asked them to clean the inside and outside but not sure they did the inside or else I missed it....

Fast forward to Sunday and it's now Thanksgiving!  Josh put the turkey in a little too early - not counting on the electric oven cooking a bit faster than we anticipated. 

Josh stuffing the turkey

And tying it up in the bag - we think the bag was the culprit in it cooking so fast!

I made a pumpkin pie on Saturday, my first with the graham cracker crust from scratch (see Sue, I can do it when I "need" to) since there is no premade pie crust here (nor are there graham crackers but Josh brought that back with him too).  The morning of our celebration, I made an apple crisp (Sue, your recipe - see how much you contributed to our Thanksgiving???) which will hopefully go over well since I'm not sure how well the pie will taste!  Add a salad and mashed potatoes and we were ready to go!!

Overall I'd say the day was a success.  The kids were a bit on the crazy side but everyone was in good spirits (perhaps a lot of wine will do that to us all) and it was nice having a day where we all came together when we were all far away from our families. 
The boys eating some appetizers while they wait for company to arrive

We couldn't fit everyone around our little IKEA 4 person table so in came the patio table and chairs!
Group shot # 2

And this is what it's like when the tryptophan kicks in...

I hope everyone at home had a very Happy Thanksgiving!!


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