Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving notes and Happy December!

Pancakes with Cranberry Sauce from the morning after "Thanksgiving"

Sunday Rachel and I hosted our Thanksgiving party. It was great to have people over - makes the place feel more like home. In some ways it was like Thanksgiving, we had the stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and lots of desserts, but in other ways it was just a great get-together with friends. We almost didn't have enough food for everyone (which certainly isn't quite Thanksgiving)! But those who were vocal about the food sounded like they got more than enough to eat (so that's a good sign). I discovered it is quite a lot of work to host a party like this, especially when we almost didn't have enough dishes! I had to keep collecting and washing glasses, plates, and silverware to make sure everyone had something to eat on and with, but it was a blast! Unfortunately with all my running around, I really didn't get many pictures, except of the food -- but I know others were taking pictures, so I will try to get some of them and post them.

Collecting ingredients for the dishes I made was nearly painless, but I did have an adventure at the producty (продукты) beforehand. Usually I go to a very western style grocery that is very impersonal and removed - you pick out your own things, and then take them up to a cashier who rings everything up and you can see the price on the register. Because I needed things like ginger and garlic that are harder to find at my regular grocery, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone (and hopefully save some money) by picking up some of my fresh ingredients from the producty (basically an indoor food market). I walked into the market, not really knowing what to expect and began wandering around looking at the different stands and sizing up what was available and what the procedure was. As I was nearing the back of the building, one of the clerks came up and asked me what I was looking for or if she could help me. Of course, this was in Russian so I only had an idea of what she said. I told her in Russian that I didn't understand Russian, but she helped me out anyway. When the people at the stand realized I spoke English and was American they began asking me all sorts of questions -- finally, I understood, the owner of the stand, Marina, wanted me to tell her the English words for the fruits she had at her stand. As we went through, I told her I wanted a few of the things, and also asked her the words in Russian. She was extremely helpful, we laughed a lot, and when it came time to pay she started counting out the price in French! I laughed and said frantsuzky?! (французски?!) and later reflected on how great it is that we ended up communicating in a language we both knew a little of. I got out of there with almost everything I needed, except cranberries. I wanted to be careful, the fruit Marina had given me to taste that looked like a cranberry didn't taste quite like a cranberry, so I decided to them up another day, after finding out the Russian word for cranberry, klukva (клюква).

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