Turkey Day 2018

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year in the United States and has been since 1621. I won’t get in on the details of Thanksgiving - because it’s a holiday rooted in genocide and violence veiled in the false idea of the Pilgrims being “grateful” for colonizers who massacred them - but I will say it’s one of my favorite “holidays.”

I don’t love Thanksgiving because of it’s meaning and I’ve tried hard to resist it - but on a more selfish level I love it because of the memories I have tied to it. Any excuse to get together with family and eat abhorrent amounts of food is destined to have my name written all over it and Thanksgiving is one of them.

As far as childhood memories of Thanksgiving, I don’t have many other than school assignments where they fed us lies about it’s origins and those hand turkeys we’d make every year in art class. The soft spot in my heart for this holiday lies in the more recent memories I have of it. November is when the cold fronts start to creep up in Florida, where I spent most of my life. November is when the Christmas music begins, when the holiday specials play on television, when Pillsbury starts selling their holiday cookies, and when my mom starts lighting those cinnamon scented candles religiously. During and after college, Thanksgiving became a time when friends would come back “home” to celebrate their days off and it still is now, a time when we take advantage of our days off work (if we’re lucky enough to get them) and travel. The first time I went to New York City was during Thanksgiving with my best friend Juli - we stayed with her family and even made it to the Macy’s Day Parade. Five years ago I spent my Thanksgiving break visiting her, her husband, and their friends in Missouri - the place they now call home. Two years ago I visited my mom in Florida after my move to Lima and spent it with my mom, brother, cousins, aunt, uncle, friends, and my favorite person on Earth - my godson. These are sacred memories that, if I’m lucky, only happen once a year.

This year I didn’t get to travel or spend time with family for Thanksgiving but I was able to attend a few of my local friends Thanksgiving lunches, dinners, and even host a dinner of my own with my roommates.

On Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, the 22nd) I ate lunch with some friends at our favorite burger/BBQ joint in town. Our friends, LJ and Brandy, are a couple from Houston, Texas who came to Peru on their honeymoon and decided to come back and open a restaurant, thus giving birth to Papi Carne. A future blog post will be dedicated to their restaurant, but now I would like to share the Thanksgiving menu they offered this year which was out of this world.

On the menu for Thanksgiving feast #1 was Smoked Turkey and Gravy, Sausage Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, Green Bean Casserole, Buttery Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Drop Biscuits, and Caesar Salad (click through for all photos):

The next feast went down the SAME day at our friend Grace & Harry’s. Grace and Harry are the loveliest couple who are getting married in just a few months! Although we were completely stuffed from round #1, we couldn’t miss out on this second feast. They had a setup of “piqueos” consisting of cheese, grapes, Grace’s homemade hummus, crackers and Andean chips, to get us started while the main courses were still being prepared. I brought the mac and cheese from Papi Carne, but Grace made an incredible baked chicken, a hashbrown casserole, creamed corn, mashed potatos, and roasted carrots. Everything was delicious and cooked with love. We ended the night by playing a round of Cards Against Humanity and took advantage of their bright orange wall by having a mini-photoshoot:

The third and final feast went down a few days later, on Saturday the 24th. My roommates and I decided to throw a potluck style Thanksgiving and on the menu was turkey (talk about a tryptophan overdose), Evi’s grandma’s potato salad, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, turkey and dumplings (a less traditional dish that Brandy and LJ brought which was a HIT), some incredible stuffing, a chickpea/tomato salad, and a mixed greens salad I made. This intimate dinner was the best ending to our week filled with carbs, wine, and sedentation - which also ended in Cards Against Humanity:

Despite being away from family and the friends who I would normally celebrate this holiday with - thanks to my friends here in Lima I was able to have a beautiful (almost) week filled with food, love, and a much needed break from our normal day to day. Now…onto Christmas!