As it turns out, Argentina is a good place to be on Thanksgiving—if you're a turkey. You see, popular wisdom in this country dictates that one should only eat turkeys in months without the letter "r" (May, June, July, and August). Unfortunately, this rule doesn't exactly jive with the timing of Thanksgiving, which presents a bit of an inconvenience for the holiday table. In fact, it's nigh on impossible to find a fresh turkey at this time of year, and frankly, the frozen ones just aren't very tasty here. So, I did the next best thing—I roasted a chicken. After all, they're relatives, and it is a family holiday.
Despite the fact that some of the most traditional foods aren't available here in Argentina, I still put together a feast worthy of the occasion. Here's what we enjoyed (along with the recipes) on El Día de Acción de Gracias:
Herb-roasted Chicken [About.com] with pan gravy [Me]
Holiday Stuffing [Mom's recipe]
Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin [Smitten Kitchen]
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan [The New York Times]
Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream [Epicurious]
Everything was delicious (if I do say so myself), but the real stand-outs for me were the gratin and the pie. I particularly impressed myself with the pie. Since the familiar orange pie pumpkin doesn't exist here (and forget about buying canned pumpkin!), I baked and puréed a butternut squash instead, with very tasty results.
Unfortunately, after stuffing myself silly, the reality of my work as an international freelancer hit me like a ton of bricks. Since my clients in Spain, Venezuela and Argentina couldn't care less about
Turkey Roasted Chicken Day, I still had to "check in at the office," so to speak. With my inbox filled to the brim and a translation waiting to be finished, I resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to sit in front of the laptop after dinner instead of relaxing on the sofa in a food-induced coma.
While I pined a bit for turkey and cranberries, more than anything, I felt the absence of those of you up north. However, at this time of gratitude and reflection, I find that I'm not truly wanting for anything; I have loving friends and family (on both sides of the equator), my work is going well, and I'm happy and healthy.
The beauty of Thanksgiving is that the spirit of the holiday can be shared with anyone, anywhere, regardless of religion, race, or nationality. Daniel and his family embraced the new tradition with gusto, and so we gave thanks together for the blessings that life has given us. I hope the same can be said for all of you, no matter what you ate or where you spent the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!