Monday, January 10, 2011


Last month Mickey and I hosted our fourth annual expat Thanksgiving/holiday party. As usual, it was a tremendous amount of work (even though my friends helped A LOT), but really rewarding, fun and tasty.

Part of what makes organizing an expat Thanksgiving interesting is that not all of the stores are catering to a nation of people who are doing the exact same thing. You won't find enormous frozen Butterball turkeys at the Coles or canned pumpkin and frozen cranberries at the Woollies. In fact, Mickey and I visited at least ten unique vendors in order to tick off our T-day to do list: order $70 chemical free bird from the butcher - check, find a non-plastic pitcher in which to serve a blood orange champagne cocktail (thanks, Lee and Jennie) - check, warn the mushroom guy at the farmer's market that you'll need a quarter kilo of fresh shiitakes next week - check!

I hope this doesn't sound like complaining because pulling off an out of season Thanksgiving really feels like an adventure, not a chore. In terms of dishes, we were only responsible for an appetizer (roasted sweet potato fries with chipotle aioli dip), the bird, gf/vg stuffing and a gf pecan pie. Mickey was keen on brining the bird like we did last year, but I stuck to my guns and insisted we do a salt rub as per the recommendation of bon appetit. Mickey managed the whole process and it came out lovely: crispy brown skin on the outside and moist, flavorful flesh on the inside. Lee, who dropped in again this year from Singapore, made the gf pecan pie, painstakingly arranged the native flowers and set the whole table. That left me with plenty of time to organize other things and enjoy the party.

Our friends supplied salad, yamallow, veggie meatballs, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, vegetables, pumpkin pies, wine and lots of holiday cheer. We played Wits and Wagers and snapped photos on the balcony. I suspect a good time was had by all.

This year there was much to be thankful for: wonderful husband, family and friends, good health, harbour views and most recently, my Kindle. Mickey had someone bring one back for me from the states and I must say that it's my favorite technology toy. I was just getting into my library copy of Clan of the Cave Bear when the Kindle came into my life. I wanted to play with the shiny new eBook reader, but was also really into the other book. For fun, I browsed the Kindle store to learn that Clan of the Cave Bear was available for only $1.59! I downloaded it immediately and stopped stressing a late fee.

The feature that I most love is the ability to download a free sample of almost any book before you purchase it. Though seemingly simple, this feature has completely changed my relationship with books. In the pre-Kindle world, I think most of us just read the back cover or jacket before deciding to buy or borrow a book. You might have glanced at a couple of pages, but for the most part books weren't a try-before-you-buy kind of item (unless you're one of those folks who make themselves really comfortable on those Barnes & Noble couches). Now, you can read free samples 'til the cows come home and not feel bad about taking up valuable B&N couch space and then buying nothing.

And if I thought I had a lot to be thankful for in November, I had no idea what was in store for December... Stay tuned for the Christmas post.

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