I now know what all of our mother's have gone through year after year, toiling in the kitchen literally all day long to put some lovely food on the table for our families (though I had it easy - Robyn did it all with two small children and a baby to look after!). She had a laugh over preparing candied yams, which seem pretty bizarre to a Kiwi, and are called kumara over here at any rate.
Other overseas adjustments included:
- making the pumpkin pie out of an actual pumpkin, instead of a can
- making cornbread dressing in a country where cornmeal is virtually non-existent
- chicken instead of the amazingly expensive and much more rare turkey option - not too unusual since we often used to have chicken as it's just easier to get right
- green bean casserole where canned green beans are not that common (I used fresh) and there are no canned french fried onions (crushed up Ritz crackers work in a pinch, in case you were wondering)
- ready-rolled pie crusts are even more recent to New Zealand than we are, they're inexplicably square-shaped, and are a bit on the smallish side (I'm just not brave enough to try my own and I was short of time anyway)
- no light corn syrup for the pecan pie, just golden syrup, which is the strength equivalent of dark corn syrup, is made from sugarcane and tastes like cracker jack's coating.
Nonetheless, we were able to handily re-create a very special meal from our combined nostalgic memories. I even explained in general terms about the harvest feast of the Pilgrims & Indians to their 4 1/2 year-old son (leaving out details like religious persecution, starvation and disease). It was still a little surreal that the weather was hot and sunny and there was no football on TV, but we were all thankful for the chance to spend time with friends, share in an abundance of food, and celebrate one of the really neat traditions in American culture.
Miss and love you all very much. Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown.