My husband and I, we are adopted Americans, both born in Mediterranean countries. We have adopted many American customs, we consider ourselves Americans, after over 20 years of living here, and 18 years of marriage this November.

This Thanksgiving, we celebrated it with our friends and neighbors. We prepared everything the same Thursday. Easy going meals that we enjoy. My husband cooked a small turkey, a Butterball. It’s not pictured here. You’ll have to trust me when I say it was juicy and delicious.

Since our oldest was a baby, my husband always reads the first Proclamation of Thanksgiving, the one by George Washington, signed in 1789. He also reads Psalm 107, followed by a prayer and the meal. (I’m considering to ask him to add the Abraham Lincoln proclamation as well).

This year it was a very pleasant Thanksgiving, and it found us all in good health and with many blessings to be thankful for.

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Italian cut green beans from the can, spruced up with panceta and minced dry onion, cooked in olive oil.

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A tray with different cheeses, pistachios, and assorted olives (not in the picture).

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The apples are shown before cooked. They are rubbed in butter, filled with a mix of can minced meat, (which is not meat but pickled fruit), and pecans, toppled with granola. We ate them along with ice-cream, and one of the best pecan pies I’ve eaten, from Cracker Barrel. What I loved about it was the ratio of pecans and filling. Usually, the pies I’ve eaten, while not bad, have a thicker filling. Also, the pie crust wasn’t too thick or thin, just perfect.

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I took these pics quickly, thus the cabbage and garbanzo dish wasn’t cooked. But the cooking is super easy. I wanted to show you the ingredients. You cook the cabbage in oil for 7 to 8 minutes, and then add two cloves of garlic, sliced thin, and the garbanzos, and cook for two additional minutes. Add the spices. Black pepper, some salt, and crushed red peppers. (Instead of red pepper flakes, I used the featured seasoning, McCormick citrus chili and garlic). The recipe calls for some lemon too, that’s why the citrus seasoning went well. I also added grated Parmesan cheese in the end.

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Another picture of a non cooked dish, 🙂 It’s just roasted potatoes with garlic and herbs. The only trick to get well cooked potatoes, it’s to quarter them, rub them well in oil, and cook them at 350 for 45 minutes or so, in a pan when they are not mounting each other, but where all of them see the fire. Stir them a bit through the cooking, and you’ll have tasty and well cooked potatoes.

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I don’t cook stuffing. But I made this easy couscous, and it went well with the meal. It’s from the box, but like the green beans, I added to it. I cook spinach in as much chicken broth as the liquid the package calls for, and once it’s boiling, you add the couscous and the seasoning that comes in the package. You remove the couscous from the fire, and let it stand for a few minutes. then you stir it to loosen it up, and I added toasted crushed pecans. You can add anything you like to couscous, it’s just a canvas food.

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Another canvas food it’s orzo pasta. It’s more of a summer dish, but living in Texas, and despite from a few very cold days this November, we enjoy salads any month of the year. Once you cook the orzo, -which is a pasta-, you strain it and leave it to cool off a bit. Then you add whatever you like, such as tomatoes, feta cheese, green onions, (those were my choices), olives, pine nuts… anything pretty much. Dress it with a vinaigrette of your choosing. Mine was just lemon and olive oil, plus some crushed black pepper.

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I took these pics with the 50 mm lens, and I shouldn’t have. That lens it’s for close up photography. It doesn’t zoom, it’s fixed, I have to go far to capture as much as I want, and still, it doesn’t do very well on that longer than your nose range.

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No matter how bad the pics, I still wanted to show the cushions, and below, the black and white pictures wall I love.

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And our gorgeous kitten, Missy. She’s a joy to our family.

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I still have to take pictures of my kitchen that do it justice. But these are it for now, 🙂 I wanted you to see how well my husband did with the cabinets. He worked hard and wisely, and they do bring new life to a formerly outdated and in need of cleaning kitchen we had.

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And a post is not my post if I don’t update you on my reads. Since the previous post, I’ve reconnected a bit with you, my reader friends, and my reading has become more animated and nicely populated.

Thanks to Chris, I’m reading a quite delightful fairy tale that brings me so much nostalgia and that reminds me of George McDonald’s style, -but more direct, with beautiful words and descriptions, -specially at the beginning, when the author describes the village where the story takes place. And believe it or not, it reminded me of book three of the Giver’s Quartet, which is titled Messenger. (I happen to be listening to The Giver, since my oldest is about to read it for class). I plan to continue with the three other books, which I liked as much or even more than the first well known one in the quartet. The book is called Lud in the Midst. Here Chris blogs about it.

After finishing The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, I realized I only needed one more book for the Back to the Classics 2018 challenge. The category I was missing was to re-read a classic. Though I re-read (or rather listened) to Don Quixote part I, I still want to do another title, Alfanhui. And that’s another of my current reads.

I’m also reading Slaughter House Five, since reading Vonnegut was on my plans for quite some time. I’ve started it, and I’m a fan so far. It’s so true that Kurt Vonnegut is such a cultist name. Just saying it, makes you ‘cool’, I guess. I remember the boy in Boyhood, as an early adolescent, tells a girl as they walk together after school, he was reading Breakfast for Champions, I believe. I tried that one, but it’s too raw for me. There’s many authors that have some books that some of us won’t be at peace reading, but other titles we may appreciate. So far, Slaughter House Five has cut right through me. Another author is Neil Gaiman. At home, we are fans of his children books. As far as his adult novels, I have not read any. Lud in the Midst, -I learned from Chris-, was prefaced by Gaiman in the edition he has, and talking about him, he recommends Neverwhere.

In December, I’ll be reading The Death of Ivan Illych along with my dear friend Kim. She gave me this book I saw her reading and intrigued me, On Reading Well, by an author whose first book, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me, I had read and loved, Karen Swallow Prior. She makes you read other books, 🙂 Makes you in a good way. Her Booked was the book that incited me to read Madame Bovary. This other one is also replete with titles. Actually, each chapter is devoted to a book, and a character trait the book presents us with, all through well written literature. It’s all consolidated classics or recognized as important newer titles. Kim and I read the chapters of some books we have read already, like Persuasion, and we wish to, little by little, read other titles. We’ll start with that short Tolstoy’s book.

Also, mentioned in Swallow’s book, and a book to be discussed at Close Reads in the month of January, The Great Gatsby. It seems that we all have read it, (I didn’t have to read it in high school in Madrid, but I read it in my thirties, and I’m surely up to reading it again in the company of those other readers and thinkers at Close Reads, through their podcasts and maybe FB page).

Speaking of that Close Reads FB page, there was a thread about our favorite, runner up, and least favorite books of 2018. When I thought about the 2018 books, Alfanhui came to mind and it’s then when I decided to re-read it. My blogger friends (like Kim), and non blogger friends, (Sherry, Katie), popped up at that post, and through their comments I also have added or moved up some titles and authors I want to read. Some of them are: Greene, anything and everything, specially The Power and the Glory. The short and  Solzhenitsyn’s A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, (which I am sure I’d love). I also have a book of short stories by Solzhenitsyn I should read. My friend Ina reminds me I want to get back to Chekhov, which I read so long ago I don’t even remember anything other than I think of him as a master like no other.

By now, the list has exploded, as you all can tell, :), and I’m not nearly done, I have to add an urgency to read Salman Rushdie, ever since I learned of Ishiguro’s admiration of him. I’m specially drawn to his Midnight Children. There’s other titles in Swallow’s book, such as the always mentioned as the most depressing book in the history of literature, Ethan Frome, which was, according to Wilkie Collins, (what a spunky name, right?) deemed the best Edith Wharton book.

Another book I read some pages and abandoned I don’t know why, it’s The Baron in the Trees. And I have not touched on the poetry I’m reading and want to read, or the non fiction books I’m still reading. We all know that a reader’s life is complex and full of possibilities. Even though this seems crazy, I remember I have no obligations, and I read what I can, and I pray that whatever I’m reading it’s that which I need to be reading at the time. I enjoy being a reader and also reading along with my dear friends.

10 thoughts on “Thanksgiving with a Mediterranean Flair

  1. Canadian Thanksgiving was a month ago and isn’t as big of an event as it is in America (and my parents immigrated here later in life, making it even less of an event in our household growing up), so I’m quite jealous seeing everyone’s delicious meals.

    I really enjoyed Slaughterhouse Five, but I think my favourite of his that I’ve read was Cat’s Cradle. It’s been a while since I read any of his novels. though.

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    1. Rob, I’ve missed you! I have to stop at your blog too to see what you’ve been about.
      I didn’t know, -ignorant me, that Canada had a Thanksgiving too. Yes, we Americans go all out for this, many of us favorite holiday. Your parents are immigrants as well? My husband’s parents lived in Australia for 6 years, but they returned to Malta. However, all of my mother in law siblings, five of them, live abroad, three of them in Australia. Steve and I would love to visit one day.

      I’m taking note also of Cat’s Cradle. I’m enjoying this author. He resonated with me right away.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Missed you too! Yeah, they came over from Scotland just before I was born. They were in their 40s at the time.

        We went to Australia last year and loved it. Such a beautiful country!

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  2. Oh, I wish I were there!
    I really love the black and white photos wall. And, as always, I love reading your comments about books.
    It’s been very long since I read Ethan Frome, and what I remember the most is that it made me angry. I’ve since liked other Wharton novels much better, but maybe it’s time for a reread of Ethan Frome. (Not that I think it will ever become my favorite Wharton).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so wish we had been together, Sherry. I will share my reaction to Ethan Frome. I have read two other Wharton books, and I like her much, yes. I will also share the lessons that Karen Swallow draws from it.

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  3. So glad you’re enjoying Lud-in-the-Mist, Silvia, and I like your literary comparisons. It’s suggested that it influenced Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, another wonderful period piece treating the realm of Faerie as something both fascinating and dangerous. Thanks for the link!

    Thanksgiving: I mentioned on someone else’s blog that we Brits have taken to it in an oblique way,for while we haven’t any reason to celebrate it the retail business has endorsed Black Friday with a will here in just three or four short years. An unexpected and undignified outcome I’m sure you would agree!

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    1. I read the influence on Jonathan Strange. I have some friends who love fairytale like good novels, and who are fans of the book. I like what you said about the author as treating the realm of Fairy as something both fascinating and dangerous. I see it like that too. Fairytale and madness, fairytale and the irrational. I just thought about that chapter in The Wind in the Willows, the one with Pan, so dangerous. It’s the Siren Call.

      And you got it, I do agree with you on the Black Friday comment. I see that here there’s a decay too, many just see Thanksgiving as an off day, turkey day, and Black Friday week. I am also sad to see how many stores open on Thanksgiving day, sigh. Anyway, we do what we can to keep the true celebration alive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ is so evocative of that almost fatal fascination we have with Faerie—I must read it again.

        Turkey Day! Yes, I’ve heard it called that before, a subversion of thanksgiving into an excuse for indulgence and excess.

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