Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Humble Thanksgiving in Futa

I began Thanksgiving day planning - the day before. Mistake number one. With no turkeys to be found in Futa, I had the bright idea to buy a live goose. That was mistake number two. As in, cook what you know, don't try something new when preparing a feast for new guests. So, on Wednesday I traipsed around Futa and found the goose guy, then around with him looking for his flock. Once corralled, he snatched one up by it's long, elegant neck and stuffed it in an old grain sack. Money was exchanged and I plopped the bag in the front seat of the truck. Turned out to be another mistake as a bird suddenly stuffed into a sack is likely to expel green, runny excrement in very large amounts. As I am usually the passenger in the truck, this now looks like my accident. I'm thinking, "seat covers".

Mistake number four and five...First, not secluding the old ganso and giving him nothing but water for a day. Then, enlisting Greg's help. His total participation in the premature slaughtering was to stand with the video camera mumbling, "Oh God! Oh, oh, GAWD!" But it was accomplished anyway, and the next couple of hours I spent gutting, cleaning and spitting feathers (which I craftily saved for a commemorative pillow). Finally plucked, cleaned and singed, it rested in a nice brine in the fridge overnight.

Turkey Day...making bread, cooking squash, mixing up stuffing and finally plopping the goose in the oven, we made a table out of our packed boxes, topped with a piece of scrap press board from Bosque's shed. I covered it with a couple of Thanksgiving-colored throws and fretted over the fact that I only have three forks and 10 soup spoons to set the table with. Sweep the floor, throw all miscellaneous clutter under the couch, set the garbage outside the back door (another mistake with the neighborhood dogs slinking around). Crack open a beer and periodically check the goose which is deceptively looking quite nice. But then so does wax fruit in a bowl. Doesn't mean you can actually eat it. The seasoned, roasted squash seeds were more tender than the bird.

But so, and anyway...Nono and Ismael arrive exactly on time and seem to appreciate that I've set a decorative table (complete with a home made basket containing the bread, and some dried fall flowers from last year). Either that, or they thought me daft for putting dead flowers on a table made of cardboard boxes. We cracked open some beers before dinner, and they tried the pickled deviled eggs. "Interesting," they proclaimed. No matter what they really meant, the plate was finished quickly and I popped into the kitchen to take out the goose and mash the potatoes.

Dinner is served! The goose was gamey, and tough. We ate it anyway. They loved the stuffing, which really was good, and finished up the mashed potatoes while rejecting the gravy. Instead, they smeared the home made bread with the potatoes and thought it was "very good". Plates were scraped into a doggy bag, for their dog. We poured wine and watched a Spanish version of Funniest Home Videos on the computer online and laughed. Then a little talk of tomorrow, what everyone might be doing, hugs and kisses good night, and it was over.

So, a Thanksgiving in Futa, and an enjoyable one for me. I'd hoped to catch family members online and say hi - love ya - miss you - but back in the US, football was on, and life is much busier than here. We piled the dishes in the kitchen, and as it got cold, pulled on another pair of socks and a second layer of quilts and slept.

One thing that was not a mistake...spending an evening with good friends over food prepared with the best intentions. And being thankful.

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