The Peace Corps has three goals in its mission. The second goal is to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. So for the last few days, we have been working on Goal 2. We decided to attempt to make Thanksgiving dinner for our host family, complete with all the traditional fixings. And for the most part, it turned out pretty well. The Thanksgiving spread was not as elaborate as I would have liked, but I guess you do what you can with what you have. I hung some berries from the lights, put some ribbon on the table, and made place cards out of corn (which we have plenty of). It wasn’t anything too fancy, but it did have a nice Thanksgiving feel to it.

We served hors d’ourves at 6 which consisted of black and kalamata olives, baby dill pickles, and crackers with an assortment of cheeses. Dinner was served shortly after which consisted of:

Turkey breast prepared in an overnight brine and baked with a rosemary, thyme, pepper, onions, garlic, and sage rub
Stuffing with finely chopped onions, rosemary, pepper and white wine
Mashed potatoes with lots of butter and milk
Gravy (it was our first time using potato starch… didn’t go over very well)
Homemade rolls (J’s oh so delicious recipe which they absolutely loved)
Greek salad
7-up Salad (a Kemp family tradition, which they also really liked)
Cranberry Orange Sauce (by far the overall hit with expressions like “e foarte gustos”. recipe below)
Carrots sauteed with a honey balsamic glaze

Desert was served last, pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream on top. It wasn’t a traditional pumpkin pie. In fact, I’m not really sure what kind of squash I even used. But it kind of tasted like a pumpkin pie.

I think it was a success overall. We had a good time eating and talking and eating some more. It was nice for us to be serving them for once. And it made me proud of some of our traditions (even though those traditions stem from a part of American history that I’m not so proud of).

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more if desired
  • Pinch salt
  • One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, rinsed

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water with the orange zest, orange juice, sugar and salt over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 7 minutes. Sweeten with more sugar, if desired. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before serving.
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