Over a dim sum brunch with the girls the other day, we tossed around ideas of throwing a Thanksgiving party, since both RX and I had moved back home. Finally, RX volunteered her place to host a party. So it was that 19 of us ended together last night, with way too much good food to gorge on.
Our Thanksgiving tradition started back in 2004, when, as starving graduate students/working professionals in the US without immediate families, my aunt warmly invited us to her place in Maryland for the holidays. We usually straggled in late Wednesday evening from different parts of the country: Los Angeles; San Diego; Chicago; Michigan; New York; DC; Philadelphia; and even Houston.
After rousing ourselves from the various rooms and corners throughout the house, we’d convene sleepily in the kitchen, where my aunt would be already bustling around. She would pull out tubs of frozen chicken curry she had specially pre-made for us Singaporeans so deprived of local cuisine, as well as turnip cake, which we would eagerly dice into large cubes and set on the island stove to pan fry with some battered eggs. Thus it was that before 8am on Thanksgiving Day, we would have already started our feasting.
The eating would continue steadily throughout the day. A few hours after breakfast, we would declare lunchtime, and my aunt would whip up a super tasty meal of usually yet another Singaporean fare – laksa or mee siam. The kitchen, and the lovely large island around which we would lounge, was our domain. We rarely wandered far from it, and only then to let our stomachs take a breather from all the food that we couldn’t help but keep on pinching.
The main Thanksgiving dinners would finally begin late afternoon, just as the sun was starting to set. It was a truly American affair – we had groaning tables of pumpkin soup; stuffing; chicken wings; ham; candied yams; mash potatoes; black forest trifle; and of course, a big-ass White House turkey.
Given our fond memories of those past Thanksgivings, we were especially eager to recreate the experience this year.
We outdid ourselves with the food. RX roasted a succulent turkey, a ginormous leg of ham, tossed up a healthful apple vinagrette salad, mashed potatoes doused liberally in olive oil (her misguided notion of trying to be healthy by cutting down on the butter and cream), and two beautiful pumpkin pies. Not to outdone, Amanda found a recipe by Gordon Ramsay on beef Wellington and tried to follow his deceptively simple 2.5 minutes of instructions. She also mixed up a tasty white sangria which we liberally dipped into while waiting for the other guests to arrive. Janice came bearing a new recipe for stuffing muffins and roasted vegetables, along with a bottle of Carmenere that she was eager to try. I settled on the easy but delicious bacon wrapped asparagus and mushrooms, and also brought the bottle of Duckhorn that Sandy had brought me when she visited last year.
The others soon arrived, everyone bearing heavy bags of food. There was otah, mushroom soup, Peking duck, chicken leg, jelly, and five different kinds of dessert, including two types of chocolate cake. SO. MUCH. FOOD. If I had a more expendable belly, I would have wolfed down seconds of everything. As it were, I was already having trouble tasting everything that everyone brought.