The last time I spent Thanksgiving away from home was with my college girlfriends Caitlin and Elizabeth in Puerto Rico. We didn’t make any plans for the big meal and ended up grabbing cans of tuna and chips from a gas station. For dessert we ate ice cream out of a carton. It was memorable but not delicious.
This year I knew that I would be disappointed with myself if I bypassed Thanksgiving just because we weren’t in the USA. So Carlos and I did two Thanksgivings with friends!
Carlos picked up lamb shanks from the neighborhood butcher on Wednesday and that night we stayed up late baking a pumpkin pie and braising the lamb. On Thanksgiving morning our apartment smelt rich from the au jus and pumpkin. Per tradition we put on our running shoes and jogged around Battery Point for the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.
For Thanksgiving proper we invited new friends Matt and Jaquie over for dinner. They had never eaten pumpkin pie so I was pretty excited to show off a taste from home. Carlos mashed potatoes for the lamb and sauce and I made a sourdough stuffing and green salad with cranberries. We opened a couple bottles of wine and finished off with some whisky– also part of our tradition. The Aussies were impressed with my pie and I was thankful to share this important meal with such lovely people.
On Friday we continued the cook-off and made a wild rice dressing, veggies and more spuds to bring to our second Thanksgiving dinner. This one was hosted by my friend Mary and her husband Jeff. You may have read my post back in September when we first arrived in Hobart and Mary invited me on her Gourmania tour. We have stayed in touch and it was a real treat to see her home and kitchen. Jeff hails from Cleveland, Ohio and they find Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving with every year. Jeff roasted a Tassie Turkey and pecan pie to accompany our sides. Mary picked up some fresh oysters and a lobster as starters. We ate for about five hours and drank our way through several bottles of wine.
All the food was phenomenal and the company was delightful. I genuinely feel very fortunate to have such welcoming friends in our new home. At the same time, living out Thanksgiving traditions reminds me of all the wonderful friends and family I have back in the US and again, I am grateful.