Así nos ven (Periódico Elhecho)

Thanksgiving Day Charade

por Erica Hanson



It's that time again. Overstuffed family and friends around linen-clad, china-laden tables, fending off sleep against the distant drone of the television. In Spain, it's just another Sunday lunch. In the States, however, this means but one thing: Thanksgiving Dinner.

For the US expatriate, Thanksgiving is poorly timed; too early to combine with a Christmas trip home, too late for a separate trip. Christmas taking priority, Americans abroad are often left to ponder nostalgically the traditional meaning of family, friends and gratitude on Thanksgiving Thursday. However, my holiday quest in Spain last year has taught me the deeper meaning of Thanksgiving: Cranberries, Turkey, and Pumpkin Pie.

Having looked up ‘cranberry’ in the dictionary, I couldn't understand why fruitsellers kept offering me blueberries. It seems there's just one Spanish word, arándano, for blueberries and cranberries. In the end, I settled for a jar of red currant jam.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have been surprised there was no ‘Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix’ at  Prica. Though I finally found a calabaza that was orange and round, it cost 12 Euros and wasn't much bigger than a softball. I proceeded to peel, seed, saw, steam, and puree my way to 8 cups of pumpkin, 8 times that required by the recipe. But, maybe for lack of allspice, translated as pimienta de Jamaica, the pie just wasn't the same. After confusing pato with pavo and nearly buying a Thanksgiving duck, I finally secured the largest turkey in town, which looked a lot like a chubby chicken. Despite significant squashing, this modest bird barely fit in our Euro-size oven.  Having miscalculated Fahrenheit/pound to Celsius/kilo and charred the bird beyond recognition, I might just as well have used the pressure cooker.

So this year I'm going stateside for Turkey Day to spend the holiday with my beloved family and friends, and will indeed be giving thanks…for Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, Mrs. Smith's frozen pie, and a 25-pound Butterball.