Soon it will be time once again to bake the squash bread, the sweet potato biscuits, the apple pie, and to stuff the turkey. It will be time to fill the house with a big crowd of people, to say grace together, and to enjoy the bounty of the harvest. Cooking on Thanksgiving is something I always do...even when in El Salvador.
Last year, we were in El Salvador for Thanksgiving. We were staying at the guest house for the Lutheran church, along with a couple of other North Americans who were serving as missionaries in El Salvador. Our little group decided to make Thanksgiving dinner. We were graciously given full access to the kitchen, and after a trip to Super Selectos, we cooked for those who usually cook for us.
It wasn't fancy. Pulled chicken in creamy gravy. Mashed potatoes. Dinner rolls. Fresh salad. Fruit salad. We couldn't find onion rings or green beans, so we opted for cooked broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. We gathered to say grace together, in one big circle in Spanish and in English. We gave thanks for family far away and family close by, for friends, for the good bean harvest, for the food. Then a long line formed, and we served platefuls of food. We used every plastic plate, bowl and cup in the house, and there was just enough for all to be fed. At some point tortillas appeared on the table. I guess it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving in El Salvador without tortillas.
It was really fun to have such a large gathering - to meet the extended family and share stories about Thanksgiving traditions in our US families. Our Salvadoran friends were very gracious, but truthfully, I don't think mashed potatoes are going to be a new Salvadoran favorite.
This year, along side the pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes on the dining table, I think my family will find a stack of warm tortillas, wrapped in a striped cotton towel. What a fun new tradition to add to our Thanksgiving celebration!