November 30, 2013

A Thanksgiving Feast

When very pregnant friend offered to host a Thanksgiving get-together for a few Americans living nearby, I got a little excited.  Okay, I got a LOT excited.

With her permission, I emailed all the expats I know near Encarnaci√≥n (I can count them on one hand) and invited them.  Then I dug out those things I'd tucked away in suitcases for "such a time as this" and started planning the meal.  I have to admit that in the states, I'm that family member who shows up with paper plates or 2-liter drinks or napkins or something else than can be picked up at the gas station on the way there.  Not this year, my friends.  I was determined to be a contributing, kitchen-savvy member of the clan.

I found the packet from Aunt Sandy of that yummy spinach dip seasoning that goes with the Hawaiian bread (one of the things my mom always brings to parties), and we made our own sour cream to mix with it.  Ken brought home beet greens which substituted for spinach quite nicely.  We even found little rolls that were a bit sweet, and there was spinach beet greens dip for all!

I called Granny a few days before, to be sure that the block of cheddar Ken's mom had sent back with us would not be wasted.  That happened once before, when I messed up the recipe, and I'm sure you can imagine the tears that resulted.  Well, there was some really yummy, oven-baked mac and cheese on everyone's plate this year!

I even found a recipe for turning this squash sort of vegetable into a sort of pumpkin pie empanada.  I'm no pumpkin fan, so I can't tell you if it was close or not, but folks ate it.

Our hosts found someone with a couple pet turkeys and we dug up a recipe for cooking yard bird.  Not bad at all!

We hopped a bus the day before, loaded down with bags of stuff to mix up and finish cooking.  I decided to spend the night, since, as I mentioned, our hostess is "in the family way" and a real go-getter. I'd like to say that I helped her with her three small kids and in the kitchen, but truth is, I just wanted the festivities to begin early, so I camped out in their living room to get a jump on the fun.  :)

Thanksgiving morning, we South Carolinians and our Louisiana hosts were joined by a mix of other people somehow connected with the U.S.  A few of these were other missionaries and the rest were folks we'd met along the way.  There was the Korean-American lady and her Korean-Australian husband.  There was the Argentine gal engaged to the Paraguayan guy--both English-language-learners excited to practice speaking while also learning about an important day in our culture.  There was the couple from Ohio, the family from Iowa who included a Colombian, the young man from Minnesota, and the young lady from Alaska.  And the indigenous family that's part of the group the missionaries work with, who dropped by just before we began to set the table. We invited them to stay, fixed them a plate, and hoped they liked our traditional American food.  They left all smiles, so I'm thinking they did.

As soon as we'd cleared away the dirty plates, a huge storm passed through. Thankfully, we were under an awning, but the crazy wind sent us all scrambling inside to munch on sweets and watch an NFL game via the internet.  What a wonderful day of sharing and spending time with such a diverse group of people!  We sat around late that night, after the dust had cleared and the dishes were washed, overwhelmed with thankfulness for our blessings.

How did you spend the day?


  1. So glad you all had such a well-deserved special day! My daughter fixed her very first ever Thanksgiving dinner and invited us. It was awesome! She and her two daughters, her friend, and I(Just helped a very little) managed to cook everything to perfection! An important day for us all. Sandy

    1. That's so exciting! I'm sure it's a day you'll always remember. :)

  2. What a wonderful Thanksgiving! I wish we could have popped in! We invited the student missionaries here over for "Burrito Bell" since I knew they were missing Taco Bell! I had been very sick for a number of days so I scrapped the idea of spending a lot of time in the kitchen and instead fixed burritos. The guys were SO happy and we had a fun evening! I told them that our Christmas tradition here was eating Christmas dinner at a hotel nearby that has amazing views of the Himalayas and they are in! Have a nice week!


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