Quick link at Brain Child: Post-Thanksgiving Reflections of an Expatriate Mother

(the site was down for a bit yesterday but should be back up)

What started as an essay about cooking Thanksgiving dinner alone turned into a reflection on gratitude, sorrow, aging, family, and new friends. I always find holidays abroad to be lonely but they are also so precious, so fleeting, so uniquely ours.

We ended up with over 20 people in our home, most of them Djiboutian friends. We introduced them to turkey and stuffing and even American football and then they taught us some dances, songs, and games played by nomads.

Watch this until the end to see Tom try out a few moves.

I’m planning Thanksgiving dinner. It’s just me. Some people are bringing things to share, but I bare the bulk the day’s work. My family is far away. Even two of my children, 15-year old twins, are two countries away at boarding school and won’t come home until the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

So the house will fill with the smell of roasting turkey and my husband, my youngest daughter, and I will be the only family members to enjoy it and I will feel sad.

But that won’t happen until Thursday morning. There won’t be any parades to watch on television, no snow will fall. It will probably be 95 degrees.

Today, I’m writing out the menu and I’m stumped.

This year I did manage to scrounge up a turkey. Sometimes they are for sale at the nicest grocery store in town. They tend to cost about $30.00 a kilo. And they’re small. But they’re turkey.

What I’m stumped on is the stuffing.

Problem 1 is that we are inviting local friends, Muslims, and so I can’t have any pork products in the stuffing. My favorite recipe calls for sausage.

Problem 2 is that most recipes call for items I don’t have and can’t find. Mushrooms, cranberries, apricots, Granny Smith apples, celery, fresh sage leaves, sourdough bread.

How many things can I substitute in a recipe and still call it stuffing?

Click here to read the rest of Post-Thanksgiving Reflections of an Expatriate Mother