Sunday, December 12, 2010
My 4 Thanksgivingsis
I know this is way after Thanksgiving (17 days after it actually), but I wanted to write about my 4 different holidays! Due to the slick freezing roads and unknown weather conditions of summits that lie between this home and that, I was unable to partake of Thanksgiving in Placerville, CA, where my parents live in a gated community in a yellow and brick house with a backyard orchard, deer fencing, and where my sister has her own pink bedroom.
But anyways, back to my 4 radiant, home-cooked, sticky mashed potatoes, too full for pecan (pronounced "pee-can") pie Thanksgivingsis.
Thanksgiving #1: My house
I am fortunate enough to live with some great friends of mine here in Raymond, the Dants. Judy is a member at my church and we have grown close over eating Hobbit food while watching Lord of the Rings.
The Great Morning of Thanksgiving I slept in embarrassingly late for a professional, but was up and at em and ready to make up my own apple pie recipe. Ahh, cooking invention time... I don't really like that kind of surprise, because you have to wait so long to find out if it's a failure or not, and if it is, you have to share the moment with 9 other people and a baby looking at you like "I don't know how to fake that this is good." But I decided to go for it anyways...
The guests were my friend Judy's daughters and a boyfriend and a baby; just the right smattering of people to fill up the table with boisterous talk.
Positives: Moist turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, and random picture poses with Maleah, whom accompanied me sitting on the piano bench (we were taller than everyone).
Negatives: The mud pie was melting everywhere upon arrival, and made a huge mess in the freezer which just recently got cleaned up.
Thanksgiving #2: Mission Creek
After eating my first plate at the Dants, Maleah and I headed out to Mission Creek, the local Christian school. My little car bravely battled the 15 minutes on the logging roads; the jarring potholed contrast of evergreen trees and naked clear cut stumps. Mmmm, there was going to be Special K Loaf at this Thanksgiving! With this in mind, we pressed on until we got to a packed house full of Ellingsen's, Gates', Kunz's, and other miscellaneous last names.
Here are some of my favorite people: My best friend Jeanelle, and her sons Weston and Vincent.
The tables were covered in plastic, and my appetite was a little hindered from this being my 2nd dinner. But I dutifully stacked my plate with favorites: Jeanelle's yams, SK loaf, green beans, and salad (Mission Creek is known for its healthy potluck dinners, gluten patties, and fake cheese). Luckily there was real cheese aplenty, and no gluten patties in sight as we wolfed.
Positives: I was in a rare mood while here. I didn't feel like talking, but was filled with a kind of happiness that I wanted to keep inward. For example, we all said what we were thankful for, and when it came to my turn, I didn't know what to say - There were just too many things that I could think of, and I didn't necessarily want to share them. It made more sense to me to hold them in my heart and revisit at an opportune time in the future, like a treasured necklace that gets taken out once a year and reverently touched, only to be put back again.
Also, seeing all the different groups of people that wouldn't normally associate with each other talking together. Seeing the popular blonde talking with the eccentric recluse man who sleeps on a piece of particle board in his apartment made me happy.
Negatives: The mashed potatoes lacked dairy in any form, so they were lumpy and yellow and not creamy at all. All around me seemed to enjoy them however.
Thanksgiving #3: Kunz's
There was familiar music on (I'd listened to it many times in Alaska this summer) when I opened the Kunz's broad door with the clanking bar lock. Music that instantly makes a person feel like they're in the lower elevation of the Andes Mountains in Chile, participating in a tribal ritual of dancing around a bonfire, painted bodies swirling, eyes crazed. Abruptly, I left the Andes and when I looked around, there were three happy and smiling Kunz faces looking at me: Ernie and Dar, my funny & awesome Alaskan friends, and Ernie's mom Angie, a little Italian woman with a razor wit much larger than her 5'0" frame. A few moments after I arrived, Jeanelle and her family (husband and three boys) clamored in the door.
Luke, Weston, and Vincent playing
We sat around and shot the breeze. Ernie told some story that was something like how he went to Kodiak Island and walked to the end of a long dock where there was a Cadillac parked at the very end and when he opened the trunk it was chock full, from stem of trunk to stern of trunk, of cash. He has so many interesting stories!
Ernie trying to tell Weston a story. Weston's probably too busy saying "Get it" to listen. He loves saying that.
While we were waiting for the mashed potatoes to be whipped, I interviewed some of the guests. I wish I could show you some of the interviews, but the video upload option isn't working at the moment.
Some of the food we ate. This place definitely had culinary aesthetics in mind...
Positives: The JELLO was an Italian Flag, which I thought was cool. Also, I think this was the most relaxed atmosphere, and I enjoyed eating my grapefruit, dates, turkey, and mashed potatoes in comfort. The stuffing was also noteworthy. There was a spice in it that looked like it had come from a pine tree, I think it was rosemary. I hope it wasn't from a pine tree, I think that's poisonous.
Negatives: Unfortunately, salt was not on the menu for this health-conscious group of people. Due to recent health problems, the white stuff was left out of the casseroles, red peppers, mashed potatoes, and everything else. The only addition available was large granules (think pinky fingernail size) of organic sea salt. Hmmm, I'll just eat it as is instead of trying to crunch it down to a more reasonable size.
Thanksgiving #4: Bale's house
Anybody who has ever been to that house knows what I'm saying when I say "There's always something interesting going on at the Bale's." Whether it's lighting cast iron teapots off with bottle rockets, swinging on hammocks strung between a lifted truck and a flatbed, or eating some kind of freshly killed game, a fun time is had by all.
This was no exception. I walked into a large group of people laughing and talking, with food and good humor strewn throughout. On the table was a festive tablecloth and candles and name cards, completing a good ol' traditional country Thanksgivin'!
It was after the dinner, so everybody was just relaxing and talking, seemingly without a care in the world.
Pecan pie, Cheesecake and coffee! Yum... I mean, I really hadn't eaten enough food today. :)
I got to see my friend Bethany here! She went to Alaska with me this summer and worked as a processor with her brother James.
Bethany and I in Alaska (June 2010):
Also, I got to see Christa, my super awesome friend whom I carpool with! She is the technology specialist at my work (Hoquiam School District) and is 3 offices down from me. And she is really short by the looks of this picture. :)
Positives: The cheesecake was so delicious! I liked it so much I went back for seconds I think. :)
Negatives: I had to reheat my mashed potatoes in the microwave. What a bummer! They tasted B+ compared to the A I'm sure they would have been at first taste.
So to all my families who invited me in for their Thanksgivingsis, thank you and I can't wait for you to read this! :