Friday, April 15, 2016


Thanksgiving Dinner at Kansas

Turkey Dinner

Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Argentina. It is at the beginning of summer here and it was a regular work day. There is a restaurant, Kansas, where they cater to North Americans and have a lot of food we are used to, prepared the way we are used to. On Thanksgiving, they prepare a turkey dinner for us. We needed a reservation, and even with the reservation, we waited several hours to get in. There were a lot of people from the U.S. eating there that day. The dinner was delicious and pretty much like we would get at home, if we went to a restaurant. The big thing missing was cranberry sauce. I like to have a little turkey with my cranberry sauce, so that was big for me. But they even had pecan pie.

Our own Thanksgiving Dinner
We had not seen turkeys in the store until the week before Thanksgiving, but when we did, they were very expensive and small. The largest ones were around 9 Lbs. and cost $450 pesos. There was some money left by other seniors that we used to buy two turkeys and Linda Spallino and I roasted them. Everyone brought traditional Thanksgiving food and we even had cranberry sauce that Elder Nielsen had purchased on a trip to the States.

We reserved the party room at the top of our apartment building. I bought tablecloths and flowers and it looked really festive. It was a challenge roasting the turkey and making gravy and stuffing because we cannot get all the ingredients we are used to. Also, the gas range doesn't maintain a temperature very well and I really had to watch it all the time. But it all turned out delicious, and we decided we did not really need to go to Kansas with so many great cooks in our group.

Christmas, at least, they do celebrate here, of course, but they didn't have things in the stores until about a week before, and they did not decorate streets or homes. There were decorations in the malls, but rather minimal. We bought 2 pesebres (nativities) that were made locally. The one made of draped fabric was made by a lady who has a shop about 6 blocks from our apartment.

The clay pesebre was crafted by a woman in Huhuy, and we love the beautiful faces on all of them.

Another of our traditions is to make gingerbread houses. I surprised the sisters on Women's Day with their own houses to decorate. I made 5 of them and be bought candy to decorate. This was a huge challenge because we had to go all over town looking for the ingredients to make gingerbread. Dean was such a good sport and very generous and helped me find it all. We had such a fun time, and all the husbands loved eating them after Christmas.  I made wassail and we ate crispy gingerbread scraps while we "worked".  We made a big mess, but had a ton of fun.  
On Christmas Eve, we all got together on the roof of our office building and had a big Asado (BBQ). Terry Spallino, who is a Church Employee in our area office, and a great friend to all of us, is an amazing chef, and he has mastered the art of cooking an asado on a parilla (very hot wood fire). Most buildings here have a parilla and many people are adept at using them. They are in most restaurants, and that is why they have such great steaks. We had all the Senior Missionaries from the Area office and some of the missions too. There were about 5 other couples who are from the U.S. and work with us. Terry bought the meat from a local butcher shop and cooked it to perfection. We had a wonderful evening. The rest of the meal was pot luck and it was delicious.

Terry Spallino and the Parilla
We discovered a fabulous new dish! It is called Provoleta and is roasted Provolone cheese. Terry put it in this little ceramic plate with rounded holes in it and put it on the fire. When the cheese, with it's great spices, is melted, it is done. He served it with toothpicks and we couldn't get enough. We have purchased our own plate to take home. I make it now in the oven, but it is better on a BBQ.

On Christmas Day, we had 6 young missionaries spend the day with us. They were all allowed to call home, and we had 2 computers set up for them, 1 in each bedroom, so they would have privacy. They had worked out their timing and each spent about an hour with their families. We got to "meet" all of them through skype. Each time a new family was reached, all six of them would sing their mission song to the family. They also met most of our family as we talked to them during the day.  I did a traditional "Sidney buffet" (my Mother), with Mom's potato salad, frog's eye salad, roasted beef, pork and chicken and lots of yummy breads to  make sandwiches. I made a lot of my traditional cookies and they ate all day long. They also each took a big plate of goodies home with them, and we all had a very Merry Christmas.

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