Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving in Scotland

Meant to post this yesterday but got a tad distracted while cooking :) This was in The Globe yesterday!

’Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the town, Americans were stirring, shopping around.  The Scotsmen were snugged in their beds without care, about to experience a day of great share.

On this day last year, I woke up at 6 in the morning, caught the earliest bus to town, and headed over to my American friend Tori’s flat to do some serious cooking.  Cooking mass amounts of food like never before — especially for Tori, who wasn’t much of a chef, let alone learning how to cook a complete Thanksgiving meal for 16 non-Americans.  It was a learning experience for both of us on multiple different levels and a true moment of realizing how far our friendship had grown. Doesn’t the saying go “Friends who cook together stick together?”

The night before the big event, Tori and I scrambled to find ingredients for the classic Thanksgiving staples. “Pureed pumpkin?” the Tesco worker stared with confusion, “We only have pumpkins around Halloween. . .” 

“Fried onions? Like sautéed onions? I don’t know what you mean. Let me ask the manager.”  

“Well, there’s this boxed stuffing that might work. . .”

So pumpkin pie was out of the question, the green bean casserole tasted a little bit more exotic, and the usually hearty stuffing was more akin to a baby food texture, but in spite of all the mishaps, by the grace of God alone (and maybe the help of Food Network), it was the most successful meal of my cooking career.  We had one 10 lb. turkey stuffed with vegetables, two turkey breast rolls, a vat of creamy mashed potatoes, two green bean casseroles, bread rolls, cranberry sauce, an apple pie, an apple cake, stuffing and gravy.  

After a 14-hour day spent cooking, watching American football on Jonny’s TV, streaming a Thanksgiving episode of “Friends,” and eating, drinking and laughing with 16 dear friends, I learned what Thanksgiving means to me.  It’s about being thankful for old friends, new friends, old traditions, and new traditions and the opportunity to share life with others, mashing together a bowl of delicious memories. 

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for my parents, for encouraging my love of cooking (from my dad) and my love of baking (from my mum).  If it wasn’t for their inspiration as a kid, spending my weekends and school vacations oohing and aah-ing at their skills in the kitchen, I never would’ve been able to pull-off this American tradition unknown to my new found friends in Scotland.  And even though Tori wasn’t well-versed in culinary lingo, she was the perfect side kick, helping me assemble multiple dishes with a calm and cheerful attitude.


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