Sunday, 25 November 2012


This week, I have no recipes to post. We are nearing the end of a rare break from classes for Thanksgiving, which is a major holiday in the US, and I have been out and about. As is appropriate for this time of year in the US, I have many friends to thank for the delicious food that I have been treated to this week.

I spent Thanksgiving day with my host family, who invited me home to be part of their Thanksgiving celebrations. We shared some delicious home cooked food and great conversation, making for a memorable evening. Tradition demands that roast turkey occupy centrestage on the dining table at Thanksgiving. Here are some pictures of the gigantic roast turkey at our Thanksgiving meal that disappeared far more quickly than I imagined was possible, and of the rest of the spread that we tucked into that evening.

Earlier in the week, I was at a potluck with some of my classmates. One of the nicest things about my program is the genuinely international nature of the student base. Potlucks with this bunch are always fun, not least because exotic ingredients and unusual flavours often make their way to the table at these gatherings. At this last potluck, the star of the show was arroz chaufa, a Peruvian-Chinese dish. Until I made my acquaintance with arroz chaufa, I had no idea that the Chinese constituted one of the biggest immigrant groups in Peru. If there is a community that beats us Indians in making it to the farthest corners of the world, it has to be the Chinese. My Peruvian friend mentioned that Indian food is yet to mark its presence in Peru in any significant way. How disappointing.  

I spent the last bit of the long weekend with family in Maine. It was great to get away from Cambridge, where I have been cooped up in the company of assignments and deadlines for the last four months or so, and to be reminded that there is much to explore outside what has now become familiar. I made friends with Misty and Sammy, two little dogs with tails that rarely stop wagging. When we came home in the evening after a day out, these two were there waiting, scratching the door, barking in excitement. When we got past the door, they were all over the place, giving us each a hero's welcome. Here is a picture of Sammy staring dolefully at his ball after I announced that I was done playing with him.

This post was meant to be a break from nostalgia, but here I go again. Mine was a pet-free childhood. There was no space, in our home or my parents' minds, for a pet. The only "pet" I have ever known is my grandfather's beautiful Golden Retriever, Julie, who we spent many evenings playing with as children. Like the rest of her breed, she had a shiny brown coat, melting brown eyes and floppy years. I have a distinct memory from when I was five years old. My brother and I were out in the courtyard, following a pattern of play-fight-play that characterised most of our childhood. At some point, we managed to get the ball under my grandfather's car. Our arms were far too small to reach for the ball. As the older, supposedly wiser one, I decided that a stick might help push it out. So I grabbed the longest stick I could find, stuck it under the car and poked away, not knowing that Julie had decided to catch a snooze in precisely the spot that I was jabbing violently at. She woke up with a growl and retaliated with a sharp bite on my knee. I still have a little mark from her angry bite to remind me of her, the pet I never had.

Much as I enjoyed Misty and Sammy's company, I had to leave to return to a familiar pile of assignments and submissions. When I got home, there was a delicious warm apple and cinnamon cake waiting for me, which my flatmate, A, had thoughtfully baked to say welcome back. Cambridge is starting to feel like home. I hope you have as much to be thankful for as I do.

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