Happy belated Thanksgiving!

To fill you in on our festivities, we present you Becky:

On Saturday, the Manna house celebrated the great tradition of Thanksgiving.  We decided to wait until Saturday to have our Thanksgiving feast since we all had to work on Thursday.  (Apparently, the people of Ecuador do not commemorate the joint harvest celebration between the pilgrims and Native Americans.)  I volunteered to be in charge of the dinner since Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite day of the year.  I wanted to make sure that everyone had their favorite traditional foods during this holiday that makes us all miss our families and the time we usually spend with them.  I asked everyone to send me their favorite foods and the recipes that their families make.  Throughout this past week, everyone helped go on the multiple trips to the markets, grocery stores, and mega stores to make sure that we had everything that we needed to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  We looked everywhere for cranberry sauce or cranberries to make the sauce from scratch and were almost ready to admit defeat until Zoë’s last minute trip to a shop in the mall that sells foreign foods culminated in us buying their last two cans of cranberry sauce.

We ended up with a delicious menu of a 20 lb turkey, three types of stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole (well, purple camote dulce casserole, since the orange sweet potatoes we love are not available at all here), roasted corn, salad, and gravy.  We also had the essential surplus of desserts including two pumpkin pies, a pecan pie, two apple pies, two pumpkin loaves, a pumpkin cake, and a mango crumble, since mangos are in season.

The cooking went as smoothly as any Thanksgiving goes.  Bibi and I spent most of Friday baking pies and other desserts.  On Saturday, we began cooking at noon trying to get the Turkey in the oven by 1pm.  Throughout the afternoon, Bibi, Noel, Zoë, and I kept watch over the turkey and prepared our numerous side dishes.  We planned to eat at 7:30pm, but unsurprisingly, the turkey was not ready until 8:30pm.  When dinner was finally ready, we stood around the table and everyone talked about what they were thankful for.  It was nice to hear that everyone was grateful to have such a great group of friends here in Ecuador (and that Noel was thankful for the internet). 
We were all excited to share our holiday dinner with friends that live in and around Quito.  Three of our friends, Lucía, Roniel, and Nolo, had never celebrated Thanksgiving before, and it was fun to introduce them to our tradition.  We also had some American friends, Amy and Scott, whom we were happy to have come celebrate with us.
Bibi, Noel and me tending to the turkey during the long afternoon.
Noel, Zoë and me, proud of our afternoon's labors.
Amid a crowd in our kitchen, Luke has a moment with our friend and guest's son, Gabito.
Nolo, Hannah, and Sam congregating while Luke cuts the turkey.
Nothing like carving into a turkey to ignite those smiles!
The kitchen is absolutely the place to be on Thanksgiving. 
It was awesome to see everyone work together to make this Thanksgiving dinner happen.  I know that in my experience I have helped my family in the past with cooking for Thanksgiving, but I have never had that much responsibility for the food.  It’s amazing that everything turned out perfectly, and it was because everyone pitched in to make it happen.  It was great experiencing a little piece of home this past weekend.  It has definitely made me excited to come home in December and see my friends and family.  
The whole day was a bit overwhelming for some of us...
...and we had to head off to bed immediately after the meal...
...but overall it was a great success!

iFeliz Día de la Acción de Gracias!