"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom....Since our office is with moments, let us husband them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

So as I mentioned in my previous post, my family came over for Thanksgiving. One of the main events was making Thanksgiving dinner for my host family. First, when I told my host family that my real family was coming over towards the beginning of my stay in Denmark, they were so relieved. I guess DIS explains to the host families the importance of Thanksgiving to American's, and especially American students as its normally a time when they return home. All of this information made them nervous about the whole situation, and they were more than happy to pass off the meal to my family and me.

The preparations began a week ahead of my family's arrival, as shopping lists and cooking utensils were cross-referenced. This led my host family confused as they had no idea what all this food could be for, or why we needed a 6 kilo turkey (about 12.2 lbs) for only 8 people. Working on a deadline of the Thanksgiving meal taking place Wednesday night, my mom had her first Danish shopping experience the Monday before. She managed to find almost everything. Anything she couldn't find initially, my host Dad helped her with on Tuesday evening. Later that night the pumpkin pies were baked. When I got back from a DIS dinner that night, I just couldn't help but beam as the smell of pumpkin wafted down to me as soon as I entered the door.

Wednesday was then the big cooking day. Unfortunately, I had a major group assignment/presentation due the next day so I wasn't around too much. This meant I missed my favorite part of cooking, which is the browning of the onions and celery for the stuffing. The aromas associated with that step just whets my appetite and gets me prepped for the meal. When I did return, my nostrils were treated to an even better smell and caused me to announce to absolutely no one that "Its Thanksgiving!". I lended my assistance for the final steps, but for the most part the meal was set.

As we sat down on the table we were greeted by turkey napkins and an amazing meal: turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry applesauce, cranberry jelly, stuffing, carrots cooked in brown sugar and raisins, gravy, pumpkin bread, and a pretty nice Ohio Amish red wine. A true feast!

So the most important part of this meal was my host family's reaction. I think its safe to say that they were pleasantly surprised, especially regarding how all the flavors meshed together. I can also proudly say that my host brothers acted like Americans and absolutely stuffed themselves. I had never seen Victor eat so much, and Marc must have had four helpings of mashed potatoes. All and all, the meal was a huge success! The last surprise of the evening was people's reactions to my mom's pumpkin pies, which were excellent as usual. My host parents were not expecting it to be like it was. The texture and lightness really threw them for a loop.

The only negative of the meal was that my host family had no idea what to do with all the left-overs, as its not something they are used to (and I'm sure I've mentioned this before). I managed to make a bowl of potatoes, stuffing, turkey, and gravy to have for lunch the next day, and I was able to extend the shelf life of the applesauce to today, and the pumpkin pie to yesterday, although, sadly, it was thrown out with four pieces left!

After dinner one of the best parts of the evening happened. My whole family went down to my room and we called both sets of grandparents via Skype. Needless to say, they were both shocked to be receiving a call from Copenhagen that was coming form a computer. It was great to hear how excited they were by hearing my voice as well as the rest of my family's.

Overall, the transplantation of Thanksgiving across the Atlantic was a huge success, and I think a true cultural experience for my host family to take part in. And perhaps most importantly, I got my favorite meal, and was able to enjoy it with my family, so I was more than satisfied!

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