I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you celebrated!
Of course, I was determined to bring Thanksgiving to Morocco, and I feel pretty good about the results. On Thursday I cooked a pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, turkey breasts (not a whole turkey), and green beans for a house full of people--all from scratch! Many thanks to my host mother who helped me with a lot of the grunt work in the kitchen. It all turned out fairly American, except that I didn't roast the turkey breasts, I cooked them in the pressure-cooker with rosemary and they came out nice and tender.
My host family loved the food, even the strange dessert made from squash. Pictured are the leftovers,
On Saturday I turned around and did it again for volunteers in town, cooking more pumpkin pie, green bean casserole (without the convenience of a can of mushroom soup), mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet-potato puree, and stuffing. We bought roasted chickens that time around, and someone brought along a can of cranberry sauce (which you can't buy here...oh how I miss cranberries) and delicious pumpkin cheesecake (very dangerous!) to round our our calories for the evening. The company almost made it feel like I was back home in the US.
Another moment of being back in the US was when I stepped into the new "Label Vie" store, which is something like a walmart (although not quite as big as they get in the US). It is the biggest store I've been in for going on three months. It was exciting to find out a big store was opening in my town since it means I will have access to a large variety of food (still no cranberries or brown sugar). It is a cooking paradise. However, after the initial excitement of such convenience at my fingertips, I felt the familiar distaste of the box-store. Right now I love the little harnuts, the corner stores that sell fresh bread and milk, nuts and candy, and the vegetable market bursting with fresh seasonable produce. It was strange to be walking through the store holding my host-mothers hand with my host-brother in tow. It was as though I had brought them out of the Morocco I had started to form into my mind and into the America of stereotype.
Considering big stores were often the subject of my artwork in the US, it might be interesting to be a part of this town in the next two years. I came in right as this store opened, I'm interested to see if it has any effect on the hundreds of smaller corner-shops. The Label Vie is just inconvenient enough, requiring either a short taxi or bike-ride, that I doubt I will frequent it like I do the walkable vegetable market and the little harnuts.
Then again, I'm the type to prefer the inconvenience of making Thanksgiving dinner from scratch.
I am currently serving in Peace Corps, Morocco, as a small business developer working with artisans since September 2008. I have a Master of Fine Art, in studio art from Washington University in St. Louis.