I just trudged through what was possibly the longest of Montaigne’s essays that I’ve read to date. I did so because my blog requires it, but also because I was excitedly hopeful that, having a title like, “Of custom, and that we should not easily change a law received,” it would contain a little grain within it that would let me tie in the American custom of celebrating Thanksgiving. I think it would in fact be possible, but I think the link would be tenuously made and would require a tiresome amount of linguistic smoke and mirrors. And so with your continued interest in mind, I will refrain from putting your generous patience to the test, and will simply tell you about how I celebrated Thanksgiving abroad.
A couple weeks ago Isabelle expressed her desire to host a party on Friday November 25th. The thing was, she wanted a theme. Having experienced my fair share of themed parties at UVA and having heard about a fair number of others that I didn’t attend I immediately looked backwards for inspiration. Yet, as usual, inspiration came from somewhere other than where I was looking. Suddenly I realized what should have been immediately obvious. “Wait, did you say Friday November 25th?” Of course! It was the day after Thanksgiving! So it was that we decided to have a Thanksgiving party, authenticated by my very presence.
So on the day of Thanksgiving, when all my friends and relatives were sitting down to their feasts I was preparing my first Thanksgiving. Never before had I played host quite like this: having to buy lots of food and carry it for a mile in a large camping backpack, clean the apartment, make an appropriate playlist, make another trip to the supermarket with the camping backpack in order to bring back enough wine and beer, and prepare a lot of the food myself (thankfully, others were bringing dessert and even the lion’s share of the turkey). It was the first time I had ever made turkey; the first time I had ever peeled a potato, much less made a huge batch of garlic mashed potatoes; the first time I had ever made cranberry sauce (actually, they were whortleberries, but thanks to Wikipedia I’ve just learned that they belong to the same genus of Vaccinium); the first time I had ever made deviled eggs. A day of culinary firsts; I feel enriched by the experience. All in all there must have been 6 hours of cooking and cleaning and 3 ½ hours of trekking to the supermarket and back. But it was worth it since the guests came through with dessert and everyone seemed to have a good time. There were two pumpkin pies, a Banoffee Pie, and chocolate chip muffins. I don’t think any of the 15 guests left hungry. There is even some food still left over.
The last guests left at around 3 AM. It was a great success. The evening seemed to pass much more quickly than the hours of preparation, but I guess that’s no surprise to anybody. Then yesterday was spent cleaning up all the food and dishes and all the dirt that the guests dragged in (not that they were particularly dirty, just the way of things I guess). Plus we’ve still got about 20 bottles of beer and six bottles of wine left.
Unfortunately, with the recklessness or carelessness that a few glasses of wine gives us, I let slip to a couple people that I’m keeping this blog. How will I be able to maintain my status as clandestine observer and honest reporter if they start reading my blog too?
Hoping that I report back to you honestly, amusingly, and thoughtfully, I am thankful for all of you who read my blog.