Thursday, September 01, 2005

Thanksgiving, Desi Ishtyle

Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest weekend for travel in the US. It is the one holiday for which everyone, no matter how far it is, tries to get home in time for Thanksgiving dinner. For a week prior to Thanksgiving, TV and radio stations carry stories related to cheap airline fares, which routes are expected to be the busiest, the weather, etc. The day prior to Thanksgiving day (the fourth Wednesday of November), the coverage rises to a feverish pitch, when a few unlucky reporters get stuck with airport duty, filing stories on the long security lines and delayed or canceled flights.

The year before last, the gathering at our house was a mixture of family and friends. Among our guests were a close friend and his family, a sibling, two cousins and the wife of one of the cousins. It was as Thanksgivinggy as it would get, and it was lovely.

If you're wondering why this sudden nostalgia for Thanksgiving considering that it is not even Labor Day yet, the reason is that I was going through some old documents in one of my Word folders and I found this menu I had put together for our last Thanksgiving in the US.

It induced disbelief (what!? we made all that and we ate all that?!) and a sudden longing for the rustling of the last few dry leaves on the trees, the chilly breeze, the cold, wet air caressing my cheeks, the first flurries of the season, football, mulled wine, Jacob's Creek and my thick jackets.

Well, for what it's worth, here is the menu. May be you'll get some ideas for your Thanksgiving this year, if you want to celebrate it desi style, that is.

Main dishes:

Chicken Biryani (made with Basmati rice, lots of onions, and boneless chicken and slow cooked in a pressure cooker);

Vangibath (a rice dish made with curried eggplants);

Rice mixed in plain yoghurt, spiced with salt and green chillies and garnished with cilantro; and

Store bought pitas warmed on a grill;

Side dishes:

Cabbage curry;

Okra (ladies finger*) curry;

Deep fried pappadams; and

Cranberries pickled in salt, chilli powder and roasted fenugreek seeds, and tempered with canola oil and mustard seeds;

New York Style Cheesecake.

* No, ladies finger is not the same as the one that goes in Tiramisu. It is the Indian name for Okra.

We're off on holiday for three days. Will be back on Sunday. Hasta la vista!


gawker said...

Actually Thanksgiving is the only American holiday that makes sense to us expatriate Indians. Because, like the pilgrims, we came here seeking a new life, and now that we are here, we celebrate it. In fact, ever since I came here, that is the only holiday I celebrate religiously. Figuratively speaking.

Sujatha Bagal said...

Good point, gawker.

Sourin Rao said...

Food, football and foliage all things that signified fall. NFL season starts next week. Cant wait.

Thanksgiving generally suggests opening of the holiday season. Lights go up in the shops and the Christmas decorations come out. Drives up north to see the fall color and hot chocolates in front of the fireplace. Hmmm...fall is in the air.

Anonymous said...

Wow...never thought I'd see someone in Blogworld (considering the number of vegetarians that abound!) mention yummy Chicken Biryani made with Basmati rice, lots of onions, and boneless chicken and slow cooked in a pressure cooker. Wow..lipsmacking stuff! :)

Sujatha Bagal said...

Sourin: You're making me jealous man!

Ravi: :)). I'm leaning toward the other side now as well. I think, slowly, but surely, I will switch.

Kaps said...

Thanks for Blogrolling me.

Sujatha Bagal said...

Kaps: You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised, Sujatha. Me too feel the same. Often, I think why the hell should I behave like a carnivore. 5, 6 days will pass without incident and then, on Sunday, I can't control myself. It has to be either Biryani or Chilly Chicken or Chicken Chettinad or Kababs! Sigh, what to do, what to do? Anyway, glad I'm not in Bangalore coz that is truly haven for non-vegetarians. :)

Sujatha Bagal said...

Ravi: Sigh is right. Totally sympathize with you.:)

Anonymous said...

How nostalgic...
Thanksgiving sounds too far away to wait to have a get-together...have to plan something sooner than that. It's time for some fall fun anyway. Wonder if the cranberries hit the store yet.... Ooooh yumlicious!

Anonymous said...

BTW, get over here and start making those cheese cakes please...

Sujatha Bagal said...

Hi Lakshmi!

Welcome! Do you remember that thanksgiving? It was awesome! Can't wait to make those cheesecakes again. My new oven! I felt so sad that I had to leave it and come here! We might make it there for December hols. Save some cranberries for me, will ya? Yes, I promise, lots of cheesecakes.