Thursday, November 23, 2006

Corn and Fish.

Another Thanksgiving spent miles away from the country that raised me on turkey, pumpkin pie and the joy of throwing around the ole pigskin on a brisk fall day in November. Of all holidays I think I find Thanksgiving the hardest to be away from family and friends back in the states.

This holiday to me is more important than all other holidays in America. Thanksgiving doesn’t take in account religion or race. It is a rare time in a vacation skint country where Americans get two full days off to spend time with their families, gorge themselves on good home cooking and relax.

It’s a time of year I find hard being so far away, but I’m making do with my own mini feast this Saturday with a stuffed turkey, green bean salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and thanks to the help of a charming colleague, pumpkin pie for dessert.

I’ve had to field a lot of questions from my British friends about this strange American tradition.

Brit: So do you give each other presents?

Me: No. We just eat a lot and watch American football on t.v.

Brit: So where does the tradition of thanksgiving actually come from?

Me: Well, they teach us in school about how the Pilgrims and the Indians came together for a big feast. The Indians taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn and the Pilgrims taught the Indians how to fish.

Brit: I have a hard time believing the Indians still didn’t know how to fish at this point.

Me: Yeah, you’re right. I think it was more along the lines of the Indians taught the pilgrims how to grow corn by planting it with a fish.

Skeptic Brit: Uh huh….

Me: Well, I know there’s something to do with corn and fish and a big feast.

Brit: Ok.

Me: But of course in reality it was like hey Indian, show me how to plant corn. Thanks. Now here’s a musket in your face and a blanket of small pox. But yeah, pumpkin pie rocks.

So come to think of it, perhaps I don’t deserve to be over in the states for Turkey day

Check out my recollections of Thanksgiving pasts in last years past

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Food Glorious Food

As winter is creeping upon us I've been a busy little bee in the kitchen but somehow (as my friend the Southern Belle has pointed out) amidst all that cooking I forgot to blog.

Here are some of the dishes I made during my Internt hibernation.

This colourful salad was actually made by the Frenchie - it is one of his classics and tastes as lovely as it looks.

This was my first attempt at fried chicken and judging by the fact that Frenchie devoured all of it and then the next day told some of our friends that they should come over and have me cook them fried chicken all day I'm sure it will not be my last. There was also a chunky mushroom gravy to go with this dish, but the picture looks like fried chicken and mash smothered in baby poop so I decided not to post that one.

I picked up some Halibut at the fishmongers. Stuffed them with lemon slices, massaged a lemon pepper rub into them, wrapped them in tin foil with some leeks and sugar snap peas and a dash of white wine and threw them in the oven with a little water in a baking dish. Accompanied with wild rice. I loved this dish. Although next time I think I'll cook the sugar snap peas separately as they took on too much of the white wine flavour. And some of us had a hard time eating around the bones, but survived.

Stephane's favourite hangover cure. I'm not a big bean fan, but on this particularly fuzzy morning they hit the spot.

My usual roast chicken, nothing beats the classics.

Last night I made my dear friend S. Belle's winter soup. Unfortunately we gobbled it up so fast there is no photo, but I do have some in the freezer now so I'll try to produce a shot at some point. I had to substitute onions for leeks and rosemany for thyme, but the soup was delicious. And I loved the smell that baking squash produced in the house. I finally went out and bought a hand blender (which I've been wanting for ages) and tried it out on the soup. Between me and Stephane a lot of soup went on the walls of the kitchen, but we finally figured it out.

Sorry for the hiatus!