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Family, Food, Moldova

Thanksgiving: Peace Corps style

I had a friend ask me last week in an email about what I was doing to celebrate Thanksgiving this year; if was having a “friends-giving.” (A thanksgiving with friends you might have in addition, but in the past, not instead of a Thanksgiving with family.) To me the need to refer to it as a “friends-giving,” was precisely because there would be another Thanksgiving, the ‘real’ one with family. This year however, while I technically had two Thanksgivings, one on Thursday, that celebrated Thanksgiving and Hanukkah and another this past Saturday night, neither was a ‘friends-giving.’

Saturday night’s was the real Thanksgiving and was attended by almost 30 people, about 22 other Peace Corps Volunteers mainly from sites in northern Moldova and some local friends of ours. This dinner was hosted at the apartment of my two site mates, David and Matt. The boys spent the week finding and killing turkeys for the dinner, designing an apparatus to fry the turkeys and preparing for the onslaught of guests and food preparation.

A few months ago David and Matt decided to fry the turkeys, after building a homemade deep-fryer for a food booth. To fry the turkeys, they dug a hole in the yard in front of their apartment building and then ran a gas tank to a flame under a 60 liter pot that was supported over the hole by bricks, where they submerged the turkeys in sunflower oil for just over an hour, to fry them. Not only were the fried turkeys delicious, but it also freed the two indoor ovens for cooking other dishes.

The night before (Friday night) my site mates, three other volunteers who were in town for Thanksgiving and myself made six pies, the stuffing and began work on a few other dishes to allow for a smoother process Saturday. While I did not help Saturday with the food preparations (I was running trainings all day) most of the guests showed up with already prepared dishes, making the prep in the kitchen go pretty smoothly.

The dinner was delicious, more than enough food and even sweet potatoes (a rare find in this region of the world). It was a great group of people and a wonderful Thanksgiving, complete with Christmas carols after dinner.  I could go on about the dinner and event, but I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

The turkeys after cleaning

The turkeys after cleaning

The potatoes

The potatoes

The begining of the preparations

The begining of the preparations

The homemade fryer in the center of three apartment complexes. Only one man even asked what they were doing out there all day.

The homemade fryer in the center of three apartment complexes. Only one man even asked what they were doing out there all day.

The hosts, David and Matt, with the turkey.

The hosts, David and Matt, with the turkey.

Some of the smorgasbord

Some of the smorgasbord

Even more food.

Even more food.

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About I think about that every day

I guess this blog will be a really long answer to the generic 'about me' question.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: Peace Corps style

  1. You were sorely missed at home.

    Posted by pat altenburger | December 2, 2013, 2:01 pm
  2. Oh my gawd those guys are so creative…I would never think to dig ba hole in the ground. also I don’t think I’ve ever had freshly hunted turkey that wasn’t frozen!

    Posted by Michelle | December 4, 2013, 12:12 am

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