Sunday, December 5, 2010


I spent this Thanksgiving with some friends in Columbia, Missouri. I was supposed to go visit them last year for Thanksgiving, but my back problems were terrible and I just could not sit up for that long to drive to visit them. This year I was happy to be able to make the trip. I not only got to see several good friends from graduate school, I got to meet for the first time a baby that one couple had! He was adorable and at 6 weeks had the most hair for a 6 week old that I have ever seen as well.

Before I left for Missouri (I was supposed to leave the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), I talked to my friend about menu planning and shopping. He was very unconcerned about it, figuring it would all come together at the last minute which was sort of fine with me. He did not share my concern that the grocery store would be out of the staples for a traditional meal. In fact, he went to far as to say, "The important thing is not the food; the important thing is that we are together for Thanksgiving and able to be together." Ouch. Point taken.

A bit of background - the friends at this occasion were a married Indian vegetarian couple and a married Turkish halal-eating couple (similar to the idea of kosher, but for Muslims), and myself - a dyed in the wool midwestern omnivore and a self-diagnosed recovering food addict. Point being? Finding a meal with something for everyone -- protein for the vegetarians, etc -- was not going to be easy to start with even with unlimited resources/time at the grocery store.

So how did it go? It was without a doubt the most disorganized Thanksgiving I had ever been a part of. We did not send our first delegation to the grocery store until 3 PM on Thanksgiving day (mind you, guests were scheduled to arrive for dinner at 7 PM). The first trip to the grocery store resulted in some forgotten items, so I was sent on a second trip to the store around 4 PM. I was so stressed out and ended up coping with that with food (not proud of the choice, but it was progress in that the transgressions were much more minor than past food-related transgressions). A halal turkey could not be located, so chicken was substituted.

I have to give everyone credit. The meal really did turn out wonderfully and amazingly only 15-30 minutes after the originally scheduled dinner time of 7, everything was ready! Everything except the chicken was vegetarian, and everything tasted good.

Above is a picture of my plate. I did go back for seconds of the carrots and mashed potatoes, I had a piece of pumpkin pie (a sliver) and a cheesecake/sour cream dessert, and a small scoop modified watergate salad. I felt, for having skipped lunch because of a late and large breakfast, I controlled things very well. I was happy with how I did.

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