Sometime last week I realized that Thanksgiving was this week, and started thinking maybe I should have some people over to celebrate. I thought back to the big potluck we did last year at my friend Cheryl’s house here in Buenos Aires, and it was a lot of fun and a great mix of expats, travelers, and locals, sharing traditions and food and conversation.
So I sent out a bilingual invitation on Monday of Thanksgiving week to about 20 people, assuming many of them wouldn’t be able to come. I wasn’t picky about getting people to bring any of the traditional turkey-day foods, but I did ask people to bring something homemade if possible.
The more I got thinking about it, and as I explained Thanksgiving and my family’s traditions to Argentine friends, I decided I really wanted mashed potatoes (and even called a family friend to get her recipe). And I wanted to replicate my mom’s pecan pie (ended up making pecan pie bars, a little easier, and super tasty). An American friend got really excited and decided she’d make stuffing. And cornbread. Another friend set out to find a turkey – and dug up two cans of cranberries (a really special treat!) that she’d gotten from an expat leaving town a while back. Even some of my disorganized Argentine friends, from whom I honestly didn’t expect very much, rose to the challenge and made some great salads, sides, and dessert.
I also invited a couple Couchsurfers who’d contacted me but who I couldn’t host (I had a German couple arriving the next day), and suddenly the guest list had at least 20 people on it! I tried not to panic about having not really thought all this through, and on Thursday morning I went out to buy more plates and cups, called a friend to bring a ton of extra silverware, and thankfully found all of the ingredients to make the pecan pie bars. My friend Cate came over to help with the turkey and potatoes and everything else, and we sweated it out in the kitchen all afternoon and early evening (all that heavy, baked food is really not meant for hot-weather consumption, but we made it happen!).
So I think we had 21 people here total, some of whom had never celebrated Thanksgiving. Nations represented: US, Canada, Argentina, Italy, Ecuador, England, France, Spain… In true Argentine fashion, I said we’d start “around 9 pm” and I think we finally ate around 10:30 or so. It was a great night, with a beautiful clear sky so we could enjoy the terrace, and just enough space for everyone. It was wonderful to have a house full of people – it made it much less difficult to be away from home. I can’t wait to do it again sometime!