Jumping over the lazy dog

or, taking the bull by the horns.

Joyeux Thanksgiving!

A bit after the fact, I know, but had you eaten the huge meal we ate on Thursday, you’d have slept until Saturday afternoon, too.

My first Thanksgiving away from the family began as many others: with a dirty joke.  At work, nonetheless. And it only got better.

As The Tall One, The Accomplice and I had been scheming about this party for the better part of two months (the idea actually came up the first day we met, back in September!), I was getting pretty excited as the day grew close.  We’d already made our playlist (everything from Bon Jovi to Metallica to Robbie Williams to Jacques Brel).  I was in charge of the menus, and managed to notice my misspelling of ‘coctails’ (who needs the ‘k’ anyway?) only after printing them.  So, of course, being the perfectionist that I am, I redid the lot.  They turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

I rushed over to The Tall One’s apartment after work. Her flatmates had generously decided to not only donate their space, but the turkey and the pumpkins as well. Cooking was already in full-swing by the time I got there, and after a run to the grocery store (they didn’t have parsnips!) and the boulangerie (freshly baked baguettes = warm and gooey on the inside, crunchy on the outside = delicious!), I pitched in. Well, a bit.  The Accomplice’s friends showed up early, so I split my time between the kitchen and learning about ethical issues related to artificial forms of reproduction…what is it with sex and Thanksgiving?

Eventually, the once 4-person round table was unfolded (several times over) to squeeze 17 chairs and stools of varying size and comfort around its circumference, and the guests began to arrive.  The party went without a hitch – only one very tardy arrival.  The guests came from all over the world, mostly Americans but a handful of French and some representatives from England (unfortunately *the* Brit couldn’t come). All with different backgrounds, too – publishing, medicine, business, politics, architecture, literature, engineering, psychology…ne’er a dull moment.

As for the food, here’s a quick look at the menu, followed by some images of our table of plenty – tablucopia?

  • Cocktail hour: Cosmos, wine, porto, olives, turnips and hummus, pumpkin seeds, cheese and baguettes. The cheeses were amazing: had comté for the first time, which is like manchego but sweeter.
  • Dinner: salted herb turkey, cranberry sauce, mushroom and leek stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted root vegetables, corn casserole. It was all good, but I think my stomach has shrunk since coming to France – I could barely manage a plate and a half…
  • Dessert: pumpkin and sweet potato pie, strawberry tart.  The pumpkin pie was made from scratch (like everything else), but in this case, it was made with a *real* pumpkin. Not the canned stuff.  It was not as overpoweringly sweet and pumpkin-y, which meant the French people weren’t grossed out.

The set table - see my pretty menus?

There are more than four people you can't actually see in this picture. We got to be really good friends by the end of dinner, and if you didn't manage to elbow somebody over the course of the meal, you had some real etiquette prowess.

The star of the show, a turkey from Brittany. The freshest meat I've ever eaten. Well, other than those crabs in San Francisco.

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