Well, at this time of the year, is there any tradition more… well, traditional, than Thanksgiving?!?
This is, of course, a uniquely north American holiday and, as such, has no official place here in Costa Rica. But, possibly because it’s such a uniquely north American event, it seems to hold a special place in the heart of many gringos here in Costa Rica.
We’ve certainly done our part to uphold the tradition. Other than our first year here (when we hadn’t figured out how to buy anything, much less turkey, cranberry, pumpkin pie filling, dressing, green beans and cream of mushroom soup…) we’ve hosted a major Turkey-Day dinner at our home. Our smallest group was something like 35, our largest… closer to 60.
So, most years, that’s meant four or five turkeys — at around $60 each!! — and all the other “fixings” are usually available here somewhere in the country, although not necessarily here at the local stores in San Ramon and usually at a pretty scary price. (Some years we’ve been in the states fairly shortly before Thanksgiving and have carried all kinds of weird foods back in our suitcases.)
We’ve loved doing it, but it’s admittedly a HUGE amount of work and expense and this year — possibly fueled by the “change in the air” brought on by our impending move — we finally (and admittedly reluctantly) decided that we wouldn’t try to do the event this year.
Interestingly, part of the challenge is that the gringo community keeps growing, and so as the years go by the “local group” becomes bigger and bigger. It’s hard to complain about having “too many” friends, but it does present a bit of challenge when there really is simply a practical limit on how many people we can physically seat here at the house.
So, this year after deciding not to host our own “big do” for the holiday, we were free to accept an invitation from our good friends, Tom and Susan. It was a small group — nine of us — and was a delightful day. We roasted a turkey to take (only needed one, although we bought a second turkey breast roast to fix later for ourselves so we could have the requisite “leftover” dinner and turkey sandwiches), Tom and Susan made a luxurious pork tenderloin stuffed with shrimp and other goodies, there were two kinds of dressing, creamy mashed potatoes, and lovely salads.
Susan is one of the few folks I know that makes my own dishware collection look paltry by comparison, so not surprisingly she set a gorgeous table. It was the first time in many years that we shared our meal with few enough folks to be able to all sit at one table, and it was a delightful change. Great food, great friends, so very much to be thankful for.
Wherever you were and whatever traditions you were following this year, I hope that you had a great holiday and were able to take a moment and give true thanks. We’ve all been so blessed!