Thanksgiving 2016

When Tom read my last New York post, about all the fun things we got up to with our recent visitor, he suggested that I was making our lives sound far more glamorous than they really are. I certainly don’t invent any of this stuff – we genuinely do go for rooftop cocktails, visit museums, enjoy walking tours, and so on – but of course the majority of our time is usually taken up with far more mundane things. I imagine you knew that already, but just in case I have deceived you into thinking that we live a more glamorous or exotic life than is really the case, I thought an account of our Thanksgiving weekend might present a more balanced view…

Planning had started some weeks earlier, when Tom had decided that we would cook dinner for as many friends as could be persuaded to trek over the Hudson to join us, but the main effort didn’t start until the Tuesday evening of Thanksgiving week, when our online grocery shop arrived. Conveniently for him, Tom had arranged to be out that night, so I had to wait in for the delivery, and then run out to the supermarket when it emerged that he had forgotten to add cranberries to the list… Once back home, it was full steam ahead to prepare the cranberry sauce, make pastry, and get other things ready for the nibbles and pies which had to be baked on Wednesday.

Since we saw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade during our first year here we haven’t felt the need to go out and watch it again, but I have been interested in the balloon inflation the night before. As you can imagine, it takes hours to inflate all the giant balloons for the parade, and whilst this is happening they are laid out for public viewing along the streets either side of the Natural History Museum (on Central Park West).

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We arrived after work, along with hundreds of other people, and spent quite some time shuffling along in a gigantic line before being allowed across to the viewing area – luckily we’d met in a coffee shop beforehand so were suitably fortified with coffee and hot apple juice.

It was all rather strange – festive music was playing through speakers along the route, everyone was madly taking photographs of themselves with their favourite characters, children were running about – but it was fun to seen the balloons so close up, and to try and guess what each one was as we approached.

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Thursday morning dawned in a flurry of apartment cleaning, veg prep and other such tasks, enlivened by the discovery that we could watch the parade online (we still don’t have a TV). We began the day with pancakes and bacon – probably my most favourite breakfast – and stopped for a festive mimosa once the preparations were well under way, but other than that we were hard at work until just before our first guest arrived.

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There were six of us in total, and we’d planned a festive meal that combined some traditional Thanksgiving elements with a few more British touches (there was no way I wasn’t cooking roast potatoes, for example – much as I love mash it is just not a suitable accompaniment to roast meat!). The menu read as follows:

Roast turkey
Cornbread stuffing
Gravy
Mulled wine cranberry sauce
Roast potatoes
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potato casserole
Roast parsnips
Green bean casserole
Green salad
One of our guests also brought macaroni and cheese along to share.

Dessert was a choice of pumpkin pie or pecan pie, although I really don’t know why I bothered saying choice because obviously we all had a slice of both. Another of our guests had brought along a bottle of excellent port, which was particularly good with the pecan pie (and continued to be enjoyed long after the plates had been cleared). The day finished after a round of board games, and we even had time to make some serious inroads into the mountain of washing up before it was time for bed!

Both of us had elected to work on the Friday but we met up for lunch with one of Tom’s colleagues and his girlfriend, and rounded off the day with a little shopping. Dinner was, of course, leftovers and pie. Then it was the weekend proper, and we mostly just lounged around the house, finishing up the egg nog and eating (you guessed it) leftovers and pie. I seem to remember that we dragged ourselves out for a walk along the river, went to get a few more groceries, had choir as usual on the Sunday morning, and I may even have gone to an exercise class, but mostly we took it easy – a very nice change after a hectic few weeks.

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