Thanksgiving in Madrid (by Jessica Posada)
I love Thanksgiving. I love seeing my family, the heaping plates of food and, of course dessert. Thanksgiving is a holiday that is truly national in the United States, and people from all backgrounds celebrate the tradition. Both of my parents immigrated to the United States, had no Thanksgiving customs, and yet they celebrate it every year. So, when I missed Thanksgiving at home this year, I was a little bummed… until I received a text from my friend.
Evelyn asked me if I had any dinner plans for Thanksgiving and I replied that I did not. My host family had not mentioned anything, so I ended up attending Evelyn’s host mother’s dinner and it was great. I never thought I’d have a Thanksgiving dinner in Madrid prepared by two Spanish women who had never cooked a turkey before. Life has a way of surprising you, I guess. So here is the story of my Thanksgiving dinner in Madrid.
Nick and his host mother joined us for dinner and the whole event was a riot. None of us could stop laughing at the hilarity of it all. Evelyn’s host mother kept asking me to taste test the gravy and the cranberry sauce to see if it was authentic. At one point, I face timed my mother (who was preparing Thanksgiving dinner in the USA) and asked her how to tell when a turkey is ready. The turkey was massive, larger than any I had ever seen in the US and it didn’t have a golden brown color to it yet so we were not sure if it was ready. My mother and Evelyn’s host mother laughed over the situation; my mother was busy preparing Thanksgiving dinner in the US at the time. Evelyn’s host mother told me she had to special order the turkey, which didn’t surprise me. Where does one buy a turkey in Spain anyways? Ask two Spanish women to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, and you will be entertained.
We had stuffing that tasted authentic; I have never had stuffing at my Brazilian Thanksgiving dinners, but the one Evelyn prepared had all the flavors of home. We had pumpkin, cranberry sauce, gravy and even apple pie. It all smelled incredible and familiar and I felt so happy to have a little bit of Thanksgiving in Madrid. I missed my family, for sure. It was my first Thanksgiving away from home. But, it was so nice to experience the warm welcome and love that came from that meal. It’s not easy to prepare a turkey in Spain, but I’m happy that it happened.
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