Friday, November 24, 2006

I Am Thank-full

Since P was busy last night at a business dinner, my friends invited me to share a Thanksgiving dinner with them at a local restaurant called the Stephen Center . It's a really lovely little place operated as a Christian business and is extremely popular with locals and expats both. It's probably the only place in town where you can sit in a non-smoking environment and enjoy a full 'american style breakfast', complete with pancakes or even eggs benedict. But luckily for us, they offered a terrific Thanksgiving Dinner special last night, and we all left with tummies stuffed to bursting.

There were 9 of us, a beautiful mixed bunch from all over the world. Let's see- a Canadian, one American, a Brit, A Swede, A Norwegian, a New Zealander, a Tanzanian, a Chinese, and an Albanian!! Isn't that amazing? Three of the guests had never had pumpkin pie and were there specifically to find out what all the fuss is about. But first we had pumpkin soup, creamy and delicious. Then came this---

a huge mound of typical Thanksgiving food! Everyone oooed and awwwwed and dove right in. The turkey was super tender and delicious, as was everything on the plate. I answered questions about various parts of the meal- "what is that red jelly?", "What is stuffing made of?" "Where is the pumpkin pie?" Apparently they thought the pie would be part of the main course since it's made from a vegetable! Not everyone finished the dinner but a few of us made truly valiant efforts.

Finally the pie was presented and people carefully tasted small bits of it. I looked around and suddenly all the pie was gone! Our Scandinavian guests said it was really similar to something they eat at Christmas, and our Chinese guest told us that pumpkin is very popular in China. Our American diner and I explained Thanksgiving traditions and the meaning of the holiday, including everything from the pilgrims and the indians, to the ammount of travel that takes place in the US around this holiday.

In addition to the dinner, which was reasonably priced at 1190 LEK (about 10 USD), the Stephen Center also arranged a variety of live music, with everything from "Serenades for Korca", a bit of sweet gospel music, to Eric Clapton. The room clapped and joined in the singing and the atmosphere was very warm and comforting. Everything a good Thanksgiving dinner should be.

Sunset, Tirana, after a day of rain.
Thanksgiving 2006


swissmiss said...

That sounds like such a fun night, and your table was much more international than mine - I was impressed with our four nationalities! It sounds like you are really diving into Tirana lately.

Anonymous said...

Good God, you make it sound so good. I love reading your blogs.( My turkey dinner was not as good as yours).

Ginnie said...

What a great American/Canadian holiday made into an international event! I know you ate it up (pun intended :).

Anonymous said...

The turkey of your picture means to me (like un Albanian) the new eve that’s coming. The new year in Albania was (during the communist regime) and is still, I suppose, the must important feast for us. In this occasion we cook un turkey and traditionally the best one is the one that we feed by ourselves , and earlier you start better the turkey will be.