Of all things Americana, I think Thanksgiving is pretty much the best thing to spread the world over. It's very much an equal opportunity holiday, only concerned with food, good company, and maybe an afternoon post-turkey doze. And, so we hosted a big Thanksgiving dinner in Bondi last night, in part to give the Aussies the goodness of the holiday and also to help me feel that much more at home here. And it was a rousing success on both counts.
Haydn was self-appointed tour manager of the holiday and nobly did all the cooking. I did peel ALL the potatoes, tho, which was really the only time he let someone else be in the kitchen with him. The day started with the ceremonial cooking of our 6.3 kilo/14 lb. organic, free-range turkey. It lived a good life up at Byron Bay and did a swell job in our oven. The afternoon was all about the pies, and Haydn made the pie crusts, including a gluten-free one. I peeled potatoes. He took on the stuffing and sweet potatoes. I peeled the other potatoes. The pies finished and when I finished my illustrious peeling duties, I was kindly excused from the kitchen.
And with all the right and comforting smells wafting through the apartment, guests started to arrive, I did a bit of cultural ambassadorship by recalling some historical points on the holiday and the importance of getting up at 5am the day after to start your Christmas shopping as early as possible. All the food was timed perfectly and in the true all-inclusive spirit of Thanksgiving, our dear friend and vegan, Adam, did the honor of carving the bird. All the trimmings (in vegan and gluten-free form when possible) accompanied the turkey -- mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry (as it should be, from a jar), and stuffing.
I have to say, the stuffing took first prize with apples, walnuts, raisins. Including Haydn, Joeley (lovely lady in red top) and me, there were 14 people and there was quite a bit of build-up to the pumpkin pie, which people here are a bit leery of -- perphaps because pumpkin is so common as a side dish, it seems a bit strange as a dessert. But throw some whipped cream on it, and I think we made some believers.
As the evening winded down, the turkey kicked in and made for a bit of sleepiness. I now understand how football has become such an integral part of the holiday, as it provides a good opportunity for a nap without really offending anyone. And, so, with that my first Thanksgiving in Oz was true to spirit, filled with wonderful, thoughtful people and the food you wait all year for. One more round of applause for Haydn's cooking, please...
Enjoy the leftovers back in the US!
p.s. -- I had captions for all the photos, but alas they are not showing up...