Here I am at CENIT with the sounds of the fiestas de quito floating around me. I'll have some pictures soon of everything in the city decorated with blue and red, apparently the colors of quito. Despite having La Vida Quiteña stuck in my head, I promised a thankgiving update. Complete with pictures! Please feel free to ignore the excessive amount of text I will certainly devote to food worship.
Actually, before I even got around to the 6 hours of cooking and a similar amount of time spent eating, my Thanksgiving Day (Observed) began around 4:30 am. When I awoke to the sound of someone leaning pretty heavily on our buzzer. For about half an hour. Once I established that all roommates had returned from their serious night on the town (which they hadn’t when I went to bed at 2) and were safely ensconced in their respective rooms, I decided it best not to answer the door and convinced myself it must be the buzzer for another apartment,. Which was a good thing because in the morning I found out the full story, which involved a very drunken Tasha and Jennie on a scandalous taxi ride home (as this blog is generally family friendly, I’ll leave out the details, but let’s just say that no one will ever be able to say “taxi driver” without someone making a crack at Jennie’s expense) and ended in an irate driver ringing our bell to get his fare. I can only shake my head. Fortunately, I had known better than to go anywhere near this disaster waiting to happen, once I heard that it was Tasha’s last weekend night out before heading back to the US. The upside is that while my roommates are normal 20something girls in that they do enjoy a good night out, this particularly debaucorous evening was enough out of the ordinary for them that it wasted no time in becoming legendary (unlike my terrible roommates in Italy, who as a rule stayed out all night every night and didn’t know how they got home, and on the rare occasion they remembered pieces of the previous evening’s events the stories typically involved such things as going home with “the Italian Hugh Hephner.”).
So once we all rolled out of bed at some hour possibly still resembling the morning we headed into some serious cooking. The 4 of us girls, with only slight manly assistance from Bill and Matt later on (eg taking out the trash and picking up the chicken), cooked and washed up and cooked some more non-stop for about 6 hours. We must have used every single dish and utensil we own 4 or 5 times over before we ever got around to eating. And we own a respectable amount of cookware. Miracle of miracles, the Little Stove that Could didn’t give up after spending the entire day with the oven on “max” and all burners going. And we didn’t even have to change the gas can. And I only had to make 3 trips to the convenience store across the street... In the end we managed to turn out, from scratch, a thanksgiving with all the trimmings for 13 people... something I certainly have never even tried to do in the US! Makes you appreciate your ancestors toiling over hot wood stoves and whatnot, or at least appreciate the practicality of the potluck. And then... we celebrated that thanksgiving tradition of repeatedly testing the point of satiety, in between swearing off eating ever again. And then we ate desert. Eventually our guests rolled themselves out the door and we declared the day a success. Good, old-fashioned American excess.
Appetizers: Garlic bread and more deviled eggs than I thought possible.
The main course: 5 roast chickens (the only things purchased, from the chicken place across the street... we can only ask so much of our plucky oven.)
The good stuff: Potatoes 3 ways (mashed with leeks, roasted, and fried.), Sweet potatoes, 2 kinds of stuffing, gravy, veggie/cheese casserole, broccoli and rice, sweet potatoes, corn muffins, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. Plus, to my delight, a vegetarian guest brought some quality veggie fake-sausage things.
Reaping the benefits of hosting: Our big feast was on Sunday... I don’t think that any of us 4 girls, or Bill who eats 3 times as much as we do, cooked a single thing for lunch or dinner until Thursday. There’s nothing like eating Thanksgiving all week.... and there’s REALLY nothing better than getting thanksgiving all week here in Quito.
OK, you get it, thanksgiving is good for the taste buds. I swear I’ll stop talking about the food. It was really fun to have everyone over too... As jarring as the change was from spending my first month in Ecuador speaking only spanish at work and home to living and working smack in the middle of the english teaching community, I am really amazed and appreciative that I just waltzed into this ready-made community of american/british english teachers. And I always enjoy parties when a) they’re at my own house and b) they involve lots of food. Also, the cooking marathon was excellent bonding for us roomies... there’s that whole timeless sisterhood thing there... OK, enough non-culinary reflecting. Go look at my pictures of all the yummy food.