The Menu

(Today's guest blog comes from Seth Harlan, who selfishly abandoned us all in our time of greatest need (ie. cooking at 25 lb. turkey) to enjoy Thanksgiving with his family. His actual family. As if that's what Thanksgiving's about...)

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu in Ecuador
25 lbs turkey (stuffed or unstuffed)
3 casseroles
2 pies
1 veggie plate
5+ side items
2 Sauces
4 beverage choices
Bread: optional

You may find a similar menu feeding 25 people at Obama’s table this Thanksgiving, but in Ecuador a meal like this only feeds 8. Do we really need mashed potatoes and a sweet potato casserole? If you name is Eliah, the answer is a definitive YES!!! The fact is, no matter how excessive the menu appears, it’s impossible to have a Thanksgiving dinner without at least one recipe from at least one grandmother of every PD in Ecuador. It’s usually the one time of year that PDs feel homesick. No expense can be spared on this occasion, and all things must be included, no matter how hard are to find or cook. Canned pumpkin and cranberry sauce are shipped from home (thanks Mrs. Fulton!), 25 pound turkeys are bought (not because we need 25lbs, but because there aren’t many other options), and PDs spend an hour selecting the menu and delegating tasks.

This year, I will spend Thanksgiving with my own family at my parents house Florida, and while I won’t miss the excitement how figuring out how to fit a 25 pound turkey into a 2x2.5ft oven, or standing in line to cook a side dish over one of the four burners on the Manna stove, I will miss sitting down at the table with the people I have come to consider family. It’s a truly special moment when the entire house sits down to a Thanksgiving feast after slaving for hours, fighting to keep Serena from sampling all of your dishes, and reminding Mark that the only thing he is allowed to do is wash dishes. The moment you cut into the turkey and pour the apple cider, you realize that you’re really not that far away from home. Instead of pro football you have the neighborhood soccer teams; instead of the rush the stores on black Friday, you have to rush to the corner venta to buy boxed wine before it closes; and instead of crazy Uncle TJ’s antics, you have “Uncle” Mark Hand, which counts for something. In other words, you make due with what you have, and in the end Thanksgiving in Ecuador isn’t so bad after all. To everyone down there, I want you to know that I’ll miss you guys and I hope you all have an amazing thanksgiving. Save me some leftovers, and I’ll see you Sunday.