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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

sweet potato pie

I need to celebrate each season, and I usually do so with food.

As soon as it’s summer I want strawberries in the park, and as soon as it’s fall I want turkey and pumpkin pie in the warmth of my home.

This year, not only did I get my turkey and pumpkin pie, I got summer weather, and a room full of friends sweating into their stuffing and mashed potatoes.

Since I wasn’t able to get together with any family, my roommate and I decided to hold a thanksgiving potluck in our apartment. It was set that we would provide the turkey, if all our friends who were also without homes, would bring the fixings.

The whole weekend I dreamt of turkey baking in the oven. At work I asked customers more about what they’d be eating then what clothing they’d like to buy.

When the day rolled around, my roommate earned my deepest respect by roasting an entire turkey to perfection. I made my first makeshift stuffing, shoved it into the bird myself, and felt proud to help make a meal I'd only ever watched being made.

Craving flavors of the season, I also steamed a batch of brussel sprouts and beets. While I kept it simple, my chef boyfriend added some exotic flavors to the feast, and dropped off some coconut rice and spicy smoked salmon rolls for everyone to snack on.

As the smell of turkey filled the apartment, my roommate and I shuffled around the kitchen to Motown until the guests started to arrive.

Although I ached to be with family, the empty feeling in my stomach was filled as the guests arrived, bearing beautiful dishes of sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, candied carrots, a pumpkin pie and a berry crumble.

One friend arrived late with two giant bottles of wine and a young man she’d just met from Brazil-who barely spoke English-and the room filled with conversation, stories and laughter. I don’t think anything makes me happier than seeing a group of people that barely know each other interacting in such a positive way.

As the guests left, each with a Tupperware of leftovers, my boyfriend taught me to make my first turkey stock.

For years I’ve watched my mother make turkey soup after Thanksgiving, and it seemed a positive way to conquer my urge to be near my real family.

As I tore off the meat from the turkey bone, I felt in touch with my food, my family and myself. It’s strange how these small traditions can do so much in marking a time of year and bringing people together.

I didn’t need the holiday itself, but I needed a night of good company and familiarity. Needless to say, I felt completely satisfied at the end of our thanksgiving feast.

the leaves are falling
walk in the park
shades of fall

2 Comments:

Blogger Yvonne said...

Sweet potato pie: I'm missing you this holiday but so glad you have good friends and a fine fellow that can show you how to cook the bones like your mama.

y

9:50 PM  
Blogger Robyn Burns said...

Carla is a turkey roasting expert? Will there be turkey soup when I return? Wish I was there. xo

8:12 AM  

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