Thursday, December 06, 2007

Memories of my first Thanksgiving

I was so thrilled to experience my first real American Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Sam's friends Fatemeh and C. I was actually very nervous as I'm quite shy when it comes to social gatherings and I was wondering how I would fit in with a group of people who know each other very well. I needn't have worried because everyone especially Catherine and Jeff (with whom we shared a taxi) were very welcoming and immediately made me feel at ease. Another of Sam's friends Joy had given birth to a delightful little boy the previous week and her husband's family, who were visiting, also joined the party so there was another 'grandma' among the guests!

On thanksgiving morning Sam was very very busy in her kitchen preparing the dishes she was taking. I was put in charge of preparing mushrooms and generally helping to clear up. Sam made a mushroom stuffing, creamy leeks with crunchy topping, Cranberry jelly, pumpkin ice cream and S'mores pie.
We headed over the Bay Bridge for Oakland around mid-day, all the food was either balanced on trays or packed in an ice bag. Luckily the only mishap was the taxi driver taking the wrong exit off the freeway and taking us on a little detour!!
When we arrived preparations were in full swing and everyone pitched in to help set up the table and complete the final touches to the cooking. I was so impressed with the Fatemeh's organisational skills as everyone who needed it had oven space and time allocated. Actually why was I surprised~they are all good cooks and food bloggers so naturally they are always well organised and not a bit chaotic in the kitchen like me. As Sam pointed out, if I had everything weighed and ready in bowls the cooking bit it easy and although I'm reluctant to admit it she is of course right. It's how I was taught way back in the late 50's when I was taking Domestic Science as they called it then.
Just look at the lovely cheese board that we sampled along the way.

Below are pictures of Sam's mushroom stuffing the creamed leeks and the cranberry wine and rosemary jelly together with Joy and Jon's wild rice stuffing and Catherine's bean,almond with lemon zest dish.

These are some of the best mashed potatoes I've ever tasted and you can find the recipe here. Mind you won't need to be counting calories!! I'm going to try and reproduce this dish for one of our meals over Christmas.

As well as the turkey there was a delicious Fatted Calf Cider-Brined Ham and lots of other side dishes including green salad.
Popular consensus voted Sam's pie a huge success and she even made her own Marshmallow from scratch. If my memory serves me correctly she substituted corn syrup for Golden Syrup and I brought McVities Digestive biscuits with me from England for the base. My photos do not actually do it justice. If I've got this wrong she will soon put me right. I don't have the recipe and I bet someone will want it~ so Sam be prepared! Actually I bet Beccy and co would like it so maybe you could send it anyway or give us a link!

This is one of the three cute little French Bulldogs I met on Thanksgiving day. Do you remember when Sam looked after them last year. Since then Olive has joined the family. She's just a puppy and a bundle of mischief, unfortunately I didn't manage to get a photo!

Everything was very relaxed and I can honestly say that I had a memorable thanksgiving thanks to Sam, Fred and all their friends. I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into our day.
December 6th 2006: Gibraltar (The Rock)

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At 6/12/07 22:01, Blogger Sandy said...

What a lovely post. Thank you.

At 6/12/07 22:13, Blogger Sam said...

You have the picture captions a little skew whiffy.

Clockwise from top left:
1) cranberry wine and rosemary jelly
2) Joy/Jon's wild rice stuffing
3) My wild mushroom stuffing in the background (a riff on this recipe AND creamed leeks in the foreground
4) Catherine's Green beans w/almonds & lemon zest.

The recipe for the delectable S'more's Pie can be found here

At 6/12/07 22:16, Blogger ChrisB said...

Sam I knew you would fill in the gaps I couldn't write it all down at the time. I just know it all tasted good.

At 6/12/07 22:21, Blogger Tiger Lamb Girl said...

I'm absolutely drooling now. All the food looks so delish! And really makes me homesick for T-giving all over again;). (esp the green beans!)

At 6/12/07 22:51, Blogger The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

Gosh, those potatoes sound good. I think I need to go home and eat!! I don't even like potatoes!!

At 6/12/07 23:35, Blogger Willowtree said...

WTH?? I would never have thought of making marshmallow from scratch. Hell I don't even know what that means!!

At 7/12/07 00:07, Blogger Tiger Lamb Girl said...

Actually, I was wondering the same thing, WT. I've never heard of making marshmallows from scratch. But, then someone had to have made them from scratch at some point, eh.

At 7/12/07 00:25, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Aw, Chris. I'm glad you had a good time amongst all those kind, loving strangers.
You didn't strike me as shy.
Maybe you're not!

At 7/12/07 02:24, Blogger Alix said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time, the food all looks stunning. The s'mores pie sounds yummy now I just need someone to make it for me - 7hours start to finish!

At 7/12/07 03:17, Blogger Sam said...

btw is was sweet potato ice cream with pecans (not pumpkin)

At 7/12/07 04:04, Blogger lisa's chaos said...

WOW, you should have gained at least ten pounds from all that food. :) Lovely!

At 7/12/07 08:50, Blogger ChrisB said...

PW I think you might be converted if you tried them.

Lisa's chaos ah the dreaded weight that's why I didn't have 'seconds' and I still put on a few pounds over the whole week!

WT now I'm sure you cook something up from nothing but raw ingredients~ in fact you are a master at blogs from scratch!

TLG I did try to find the origin of the saying.

CC some people you feel comfortable with straight away x

alix you'll have to employ Sam!

Sam I'm going senile as I watched you make it!

At 7/12/07 15:00, Blogger thefoodsnob said...

Sounds like a wonderful day, wonderful food, and wonderful friends! The most perfect Thanksgivings are when huge group of friends get together (with a little family mixed in!)
Homemade marshmallows are the best, my kids ask for them constanly in the winter for hot chocolate.

At 7/12/07 17:55, Blogger Barbara said...

I'm envious of you sharing Thanksgiving with all those food bloggers.

At 7/12/07 19:20, Blogger Deborah said...

Wow Chris - sounds amazing! When we lived in the states the first time we sort of ignored Thanksgiving and just enjoyed the day off, but when I went back for university it took on a new dimension as I was always the foreign kid someone took pity on to invite back to the family! ;-) So I can totally relate to your initial feelings! Because of the welcomes though it has become such a favourite holiday for me. A day of welcomes really! I even had my own this year inviting my brother's girlfriends mother, who I didn't know! It was perfect! ;-)

SO glad you enjoyed it... and the food looks fantastic!

At 8/12/07 06:42, Blogger katy said...

that was a delicious post, i so want to eat right now!

At 8/12/07 11:03, Blogger my4kids said...

Oooh wow looks like a lot of really yummy foods!
I would love to have Thanksgiving with those guys. Me and my friends not very exciting with the meals.


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