Saturday, November 24, 2007



I used to have a friend (note the past tense) who, along with her new husband when she remarried, came to the conclusion that dinner parties - whether at home or in restaurants - had to be attended by an even number of people. Not just any even number - men and women, to be more specific. The seating had to be boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl etc etc etc. No gay couples - two men or two women don't constitute a "couple" - no boy-girl-boy-girl thing there. And, chas v'chalila (G-d forbid) - no single people. There has to be an even number around the table.

My Thanksgiving dinner broke all of her rules. There were thirteen of us around the table. Actually, my table only holds twelve comfortably - but with good friends --- we scrunched up a bit and all was fine. We were four married couples, one gay, two widows and two married women whose husbands couldn't attend.

Having broken all of the rules with my guest list - the dinner went on to be very traditional. Two turkeys as we can't get anything bigger than an eight kilo turkey here (about 17 pounds) and there has to be enough to go around generously plus leftovers for whoever wants to take home a "care package", chestnut stuffing, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potato-glazed carrot-pumpkin souffle, corn pudding, green bean-cream of mushroom soup (parve of course)-and French's onion ring casserole, Brussels sprouts and smoked goose breast (in place of pancetta), gravy, cranberry sauce and cranberry relish.

We finished with apple pie, pecan pie and lemon meringue pie. All accompanied by wonderful red wine - Merlot and Notera - from my friend Arnon's yekev (winery) "Anatot".

Mind you, this did not go off without a hitch or two. My microwave packed in on Tuesday evening - how to warm everything up to get to the table hot? I called my trusty and reliable repair-man - a renaissance man if ever there was one - Graeme Stone - an Australian psychologist cum repair man cum contractor and soon-to-be tour guide - and he saved the day. It was just a blown fuse (did you know microwave ovens have fuses inside?) and he changed the fuse on the spot.

I heard on FoxNews in the morning the statistic that full-grown turkeys have approximately 3500 feathers. Luckily my friend Myra was coming over on Wednesday to cook with me - because each of those turkeys had at least that many feathers, if not more. For those lucky Americans who buy turkeys completely denuded - you don't know just how lucky you are. Here, the major feathers are removed but there are always hundreds of pin-feathers which have managed to escape and are thus left on the chicken or turkey - we simply think of them as extra protein! Myra and I spent two hours - each - on cleaning the turkeys. That's four man-hours just for the turkeys. Not to mention all the other peeling and chopping and cutting. But we did it - with time to spare.

One last almost faschla (mix-up) - which was averted at the last minute. One friend thought that Thanksgiving was next week - so she had dinner at home and when another guest called to ask her for a lift to my house she almost fainted. Good sport that she is - she quickly dressed, picked him up, came to the party, ate a second dinner - and only told us about it afterward.

So while my dinner party broke all of my ex-friends' rules - we had a marvelous time. As always - we ate, laughed, drank, told jokes and funny stories - and were all happy to be together for yet another Thanksgiving. I've been friends with most of the guests for at least thirty years - the "newest" friend for more than ten years. And that's something to be thankful for.

Yalla, Bye.

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