Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving in Argentina


Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. If you're from the States, you know that no Thanksgiving meal is complete without a turkey, stuffing, gravy, yams, corn, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie and several other assorted plates. But if you're hubby's of Puerto Rican descent, like mine is, then you also include some Pernil, a slow-roasted marinated pork leg, and of course, arroz con gandules (yellow rice with pigeon peas). But how do you celebrate Thanksgiving in a country that doesn’t observe the tradition? 
My spouse and I decided that we’d go to Walmart to buy our Thanksgiving meal. We hoped that since the store is from the U.S., that they’d have all the items we’d need. We were wrong! 
We found the turkey, well at least we think it was turkey, but it seemed way too big to feed just the two of us, and even if we’d bought it, there would have been no way to thaw it, and prepare it in time for dinner. So we decided to go for another alternative: chicken! 
I should point out that turkey is extremely uncommon in Argentina. At best, you can order it in thin slices, like ham. Walmart is the only place that I've seen turkey, and I've only seen it sold during November.

We bought the ingredients we needed to make the stuffing and gravy. Since we couldn't find the vegetables that are common in a traditional Thanksgiving feast, we decided to blend Argentine and American cuisine, which included ingredients for Argentine empanadas. Fortunately, we also found something at Walmart that is difficult to find in Argentina… Mac and Cheese.  
We started cooking as soon as we got home. My spouse insisted that I help him, and I'm so glad that he did. I’ve never cooked with him before and it was a very enjoyable experience that brought us closer together. 
Once the food was done, we called my parents (his in-laws) over. The meal consisted of chicken, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, Mac and Cheese, empanadas and bread with pesto sauce. We gave thanks for everything good that happened to us over the past twelve months. Then we dug in and enjoyed our unconventional meal. 
My spouse and I both agreed that while we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving many times in our lives, this was one of those rare moments where the true meaning of the holiday was observed. There was no family drama (backstabbing, gossiping), which, unfortunately, we've encountered in the past. It was a small circle of people full of love and respect for each other. 
I may have started a brand new Thanksgiving tradition in Argentina. I hope you all had a great holiday, like we did. I’m looking forward to next year. 

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