Thanksgiving in Jocotepec

Thanksgiving is not, of course, a holiday in Mexico, but my friends and I are doing it anyway.  As far as I’m concerned, any time you can pretty much demand a pecan pie and get it should be a holiday!  And that’s what I did and got. 

My great friends Kathi and Warner, Jonnie and Craig, our mutual friend James, and I did the big dinner here at the barbabode/Nonie’s house which I now inhabit.  And was a gut buster….but, you know, in the good way!  Kathi and Warner bought the [gasp!] Butterball turkey that Jonnie and I cooked over here at my house.  I don’t know where Kathi got it or how much she paid for it, but she somehow came up with a 13 pound Butterball.  Maybe it dropped off the truck [wink, wink] on its way to the US.   Who knows?  Because there are lots of turkeys here in Mexico, but their meat only seems to make it into faux bologna and hot dogs. 

Kath also made [gasp!] oyster dressing.  [And, yes, kids, we DO get oysters here.  They come from the Pacific coast, of course, but that’s only about a four hour drive from us.]  And since November has an “R” in it, the oysters are great!  [I don’t know….ask Senor Google.]

Jonnie, aside from coming over early to help me cook and coerce me into early cocktails, had been in charge of Thomas the turkey for the previous week:  his freezing, his defrosting, his degibleting, etc.  She also made a pecan pie for me [which, yes, I grudgingly shared since it’s Thanksgiving], some more stuffing, and Craig made a pumpkin chiffon pie. 

Are you drooling yet, my little plum nuts, because there’s more to come.  James is an excellent baker and he brought not only homemade banana pudding, but homemade croissants!!  Much as I have loved and used those little Brown ‘N Serve rolls, James’ are, of course, 20 steps beyond!

Well, how about you, barb?  What the heck did you provide?  Or should it be called Thankstaking for you???  Well, first of all, I provided the site for the dinner!  And what a great site it is!  My landlords, David and Nonie, have created a casa that’s just made for entertaining.  For example, outside, on the patio, are a nice big glass table and lots of chairs.  It normally kind of looks like this:

But add a colorful Mexican tablecloth and rearrange the furniture a little and it looks like this:

What a great place to serve the appetizers and adult beverages and play Trivial Pursuit on Thanksgiving! 

Additionally, as if they knew I was coming, Nonie and David have provided the GREAT handmade in Mexico dining room table at which we dined.  I mean, really, doesn’t it look like something at which the Pilgrims and Indians might have eaten?  If you’re not sure, I’m telling you, as somebody who is a descendant of both Pilgrims and Seneca that, yeah, this is what it looked like according to the stories from both sides….and what I remember from that first Thanksgiving.  Except maybe the table was outside. 

I also did the “side dishes”….you know, the mashed potatoes, the green beans, the appetizers, the sweet tea.  [Don’t even tell me you don’t know what sweet tea is!  Only the best noncarbonated drink in the world, that’s all!  At least to southerners!  Well, okay, YooHoo may be a close second, but only second….never first in the presence of sweet tea!] 

I was also supposed to provide the sweet potato casserole but I discovered something on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day while at the mercado here in Joco and the fruit and vegetable shops thereabouts.  Apparently sweet potatoes [camotes here in Mexico] are not in season.  I went to seven vegetable stalls that morning at about 8am and nobody had them.  My bad.  I thought they were always available.  Apparently not. 

Jonnie and Kathi asked me if I would be willing to settle for canned yams, but I haughtily said “NO!”  Really not so much because canned wouldn’t be the same but because I’d have to drive to Gringolandia [i.e. Ajijic and environs] and pay a fortune for them.  Instead I splurged on bacon to put in the fresh green beans.  And, folks, it was totally worth it! 

Bacon here in Mexico is a hit or miss thing.  If you buy the plastic encased bacon, it’s usually just awful.  High cost and low output.  It shrinks up to about nothing during the frying process.  On the other hand, if you go to a butcher shop, you can get nice thick slabs of bacon that fry up beautifully.  But, either way, bacon always comes at a cost down here…and I don’t mean just a cost to your arteries.  I’m not sure what Mexicans use the part of the pig that provides bacon for, but obviously something other than bacon.  [And, heaven knows they use it, because they always use every part of every animal slaughtered.  When is the last time you got the chicken feet with the whole chicken?] 

Apart from me bumping into Jonnie’s arm while she was adding flour to the gravy as I tried to get the turkey to the table without dropping it, we didn’t have any mishaps!  [Perhaps if Jonnie and I had started drinking even earlier than 11:30am in advance of the 4:30pm dinner, it would have been more interesting.  Must remember that next year!]

At any rate, this Thanksgiving dinner was one for the books….the books about FABULOUS meals, that is!  It was so good that it was actually silent for the most part at the dining room table.  That’s how serious the food gorging was!  And nary a can in sight…except, of course, for the jellied cranberry sauce which I love, love, love, and which Kathi and Warner provided.   

You know, I had every intention of snapping a few pictures of the table before we all got into the food like a pack of starved hyenas.  But, like the starving hyena, I just didn’t have the strength to pick up the camera before dinner.  [Next year I should probably try to find a wildlife photographer hereabouts to do the predinner photos…..and possibly the mid dinner photos if s/he has the stomach for it.] 

And for yet another year in Mexico, I had a great Thanksgiving meal spent with friends.  Hope yours was at least half as good as mine, because that would still make it great!

About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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5 Responses to Thanksgiving in Jocotepec

  1. K says:

    I’m still full!!
    Right now the carcass is a boiling to make a fabulous turkey soup. Boy does it smell good.
    Like most things here in Mexico, just about everything is used when you make food. And we’re using and reusing this bird!
    I was kind of disappointed when the Butterball Turkey didn’t have feet attached! They make the best stock!
    The desserts were to die for!! Gracias to the dessert makers.
    Thanks to Nonie and David for making such a wonderful home. And thanks to Barb for inviting us for TG.

  2. Gigi says:

    Yeah, and thanx for making my mouth water!!!!!!
    So well described I think I”ll go brush my teeth….

  3. me says:

    I am so sorry I missed it………..sure sounds thousands times
    better than the mystery meal we had………………..

  4. Joe Haussmann says:

    That color on the turkey was amazing. What was it basted with? I need to remember to check in on your blog more frequently.

    • Barbara says:

      okay, Joe, here’s the truth: i didn’t take that picture at the top of the blog. i got it off the “interwebs.” but, also the truth, ours looked just as good….except without all the fancy stuff surrounding it. really, it did! you can ask the people who attended!

      and the only thing i did was slather on some vegetable oil before i popped it into the oven [you know, like i was rubbing suntan lotion on my boyfriend back in the ’70s when we didn’t care about sunscreen]. i also basted it pretty frequently, and then tented aluminum foil over it for maybe the last couple of hours of roasting.

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