Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thanksgiving Across the Pond

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Normally around this time of year I'd be looking out at the above view, loving Northern California with my whole heart while the women in my family (that's about 90% of the clan) bustle around in the background, bickering over seating charts and discussing salad choices and oven schedules and answering the ever-ringing phone with the same refrain: "Butterball Hotline!"  It's the most wonderful time of the year – Thanksgiving is when the extended family gathers, really, and we break up into nuclear pockets over Christmas/Chanukah/New Year's.

This year, though, I can't afford the time or money to go home.  For the first time ever in my life, I'll be missing out on Thanksgiving with my family, and it hurts to think of everyone gathering without me while I sit in my office and schedule books for production...  So I decided I wouldn't allow myself to mope.  If I can't be with my family, I'll make my own holiday, right here in the land our forefathers fled before the holiday ever existed – the BF and I will be doing a Friendsgiving this year, and we're holding nothing back.

We've invited Brits and expat Americans and even a few from farther afield, and the guest list has gotten a little out of hand: we're now expecting around 25 people.  Our table seats ten, and we don't even have that many chairs, but I figure making do and an attitude of 'the more the merrier' is what Turkey Day is all about, so to that end we've bought a bunch of paper plates and plastic cups and cutlery and are planning to seat people wherever we can (including the floor), and we've ordered a 10kg turkey and people will be bringing sides, and I'm going to bake at least two of my family's famous pumpkin pies and mash lots of rutabagas, and I'm committing all the wisdom on the NYT Thanksgiving Helpline to memory... so I think it'll be great fun in the end.

I'll still miss my family, of course, but there's no cure for homesickness like being run off one's feet, and I think I've got that pretty well covered – in fact, I would do well to pause in the middle of my recently-constant moans about how stressed I am and be grateful for everything I have: a great boyfriend, fantastic friends, a book that I wrote up on Amazon for pre-order (!!!), a new job title that ought to bolster my resumé nicely, and a family worth missing when I can't be with them.  I'm a pretty lucky lady.

And now I must stop thinking and go do things, for there are more dishes to wash and seating charts to plan and pie crusts to be rolled out and RSVPs to gather and wine to be ordered and...

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Beauty Comes from Within: Sexy-Ugly Hedgehog Cookies

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One of the BF's favorite kind of cookies is oatmeal chocolate chip, for which he'll hardly get a raised eyebrow from me: the toothsomeness of an oatmeal cookies with the sweetness of chocolate?  Obviously.  I myself am a fan of the good old oatmeal raisin as well, but the more people I poll, the more I feel like this cookie has unfairly fallen out of favor.  Alas, poor oatmeal raisin... well, more for me!

Anyway, when I went to visit the BF in Boston a few weekends ago, I planned on bringing him some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but for some reason (I guess because, really, I wanted to eat them), I went with my gram's chocolate chip shortbread cookies instead.  He was never any the wiser, and those cookies are the bomb, so I didn't feel too guilty.  I did, however, find myself craving them the following week (I suppose the idea had planted and refused to let go!), and as I was going to have some girlfriends over for dinner – and needed to make some cookies to mail to a friend for his birthday – I had an excuse to make them.