Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


For our Thanksgiving on Saturday we invited our Basotho family over for a traditional American dinner.  We often have them over for some American cuisine.  They've yet to try something they didn't scarf.  Saturday we also invited one of Kyle's little friends and his mom.  So that was five adults, three teenagers and four kids.  I warned them ahead of time that it would likely be a bit odd for them.   We’ve heard that the Thanksgiving menu combination sounds weird to non-Americans.  I was slightly nervous about trying to tackle T-day on my own but with the help of our friends’ daughter, Joy, we pulled it off!

(Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures.  Photography was obviously not first priority, eating was.)

Friday Joy and I started by making pies.  That is the most important part, right?  I had planned on doing a pecan pie and a chocolate chip pie.  But with the first mention of pie, Joy burst out exclamations about how much she loved the apple pie with cinnamon she once had.  Well, with that the plan changed.  First an apple pie.  Then a derby pie to combine my desire for pecans and chocolate.  I don’t think we have any future in opening a bakery based on the looks of things.  But if we were scored solely on taste, I think we could make it big time.  I’ve never had much luck with pastry dough but trying a new recipe from a friend changed that.  At the dinner table there was a lively debate going on between the derby pie eaters and the apple pie eaters.  The people who chose apple pie first were adamant that it was the best.  The derby pie team was convinced theirs was the best.  Of course each side opted to try the other pie and I don’t think we ever came to any conclusion on the winner.  In my opinion the derby pie took the prize because let’s be honest, pecans and chocolate are a show-stopping combination. 

Turkey isn’t easy to come by here, as you might imagine.  It’s not exactly an African-raised meat choice.  While during this time of year you can find them (I presume because of a relatively high foreigner populous), they are typically quite large and quite expensive.  My oven is small.  It is probably not much more than 1/2 the size of a standard oven in the US.  I knew there was not a way in the world I was getting a turkey and anything else in the oven.  So, I skipped the turkey and went with a ham and butter baked chicken.  Since chicken and turkey are something like cousins, I didn’t figure the substitution would be too frowned upon.  It wasn’t.  

A couple months back I found sweet potatoes at the grocery.  There are ‘sweet potatoes’ here but they are different, purple on the outside and off white on the inside.  The ones I found were brown on the outside and orange on the inside, just like I wanted.  I peeled, cooked and pureed them and sealed them in the freezer for sweet potato casserole.  French fried onions don’t exist here so I made my own for green bean casserole using this recipe.  Thankfully I had some Stove Top stuffing waiting in the cub bard, to me it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.  I also made mashed potatoes and yeast rolls.  

A true American food

Being away from our loved ones is tough during special occasions.  We are hoping and praying the timing works out for us to be home for Christmas next year at the beginning of our home assignment.  Last year we visited with friends for Thanksgiving in South Africa and with more friends for Christmas in Maseru.  This year, however, we decided to stay close to home for the holidays.  I'm trying to be all here, not wishing we were anywhere else.  We bought a small Christmas tree, we've hung our few Christmas decorations and we're hunkering in for a cozy holiday season.  Fortunately, living in the nose bleed section of the world keeps the temperates relatively cool year-round.  At night, with the tree lights on, it is still comfortable to snuggle under a blanket and watch a movie.  Regardless, we do miss home and the excitement that holidays bring with family.  Yet we are so, so thankful for our dear friends here who share life and its joys and heartaches with us day in and day out.  They truly are our family here and we're glad they humor us enough to celebrate some holidays American-style.


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