Thursday, November 26, 2009
Mr. Kester did arrive late just before midnight last night. He looked exhausted. We sat down and talked for about 5 minutes and I showed him the leftovers we saved for him as well as the apple loaf cake I had baked, frozen, thawed and heated for the occasion. When Zach and I went up to his apartment today he thanked me for the food which he ate for lunch. He was impressed. I’m glad he liked it even though the pork chop was a little tough. He especially liked the apple cake, of which he said he ended up eating the whole thing before he went to bed. He also commented on the spotlessness of the apartment and inquired as to if we had actually stayed there. I’m glad my handy work was noted.
I really enjoyed my morning at work, mainly because of the people I worked with. I won’t use names, but Personality 1 brought me chocolate for Thanksgiving. We keep the door locked while stocking, so she was knocking on the door to be let in. When I opened it, she pulled a box of chocolates out of her purse and told me “Happy Thanksgiving! It’s nothing, but I thought it might be good after your meal.” We had been talking the day before about the American Thanksgiving traditions. I was so impressed at the touching gesture.
Personality 2 is having a birthday tomorrow and everyone is bringing sweets. I’ll miss it because it is my day off (thank goodness), but she was talking about chocolate all morning. It was killing us all! Scots Clan is her favorite, so I got some to take in on Monday.
Personality 3 asked me if I was taking any turf home with me. I was like, “what?” He explained he meant sod, grass, dirt clots. I laughed and said, “as strange as it is I had already attempted to do that, but I left it in a container that molded from the dew.” Ireland is known for turf. It was what I took from the National Park. Irish are fond of their land. He said he lives by a turf farm where they dig it up, roll it, and burn it for fuel. He is bringing me some on Monday! He was also wanted to write a list of all the chocolates I needed to try such as: Moro, Yorkie, Mars and more. He is a list person and felt it would be a good thing to have.
Personality 4 is Italian, and she is so friendly. She came up today asking if she could talk to me later about a green card. I said sure, but I was thinking “oh no”. But really she just wanted to know what it was and about jobs in the States. She mainly was curious about traveling for holiday in the States. I think we might meet for coffee some day before I leave. She talked about how she came to Ireland for a job because the government system in Italy has become so corrupt; nothing runs correctly and she couldn’t get a decent job. She was very passionate about her disapproval. Roberto seems to say the same thing.
I’ve discovered the Irish/British have a whole other set of celebrities that we probably don’t hear about often. Katie Price - Jordan and Girls Aloud – Cheryl Cole are two in particular. Beware: Cherly Cole is rumored to be ‘about to break through America!’ Run for your life! I looked up some Girls Aloud music videos (British female pop band). They’re shameful. They aren’t very good. It’s just A LOT of sex appeal. They are like the Pussy Cat Dolls of Britain, but PCD actually sounds better.
Look for yourself:
When I got off work I saw a lady pushing out 6 x 24 packs of Budweiser from the grocery store…now try to tell me the Irish don’t have a drinking problem!
I took a nap from 2-4 and when I woke up it was time to start cooking Fred (yea I named him)! First he had to be gutted and washed. I let Zach dig in for the neck and pack of guts! Hehehehe.
I then took the bird over to the sink and gave it a bath. It was so weird. It was dead, but it felt like I was bathing a live animal or a baby or something. I was having fun – lifting up the wings like arms and turning it up and down. A little morbid maybe, but worse things can be done; at least I was enjoying myself. I then took a rub of salt, pepper, sage, fresh basil and chopped garlic and rubbed it on top and under the skin of the turkey. I poured butter and chicken stock over him and popped Fred in the oven for a little over 2 hours. He had a self-timer stuck in him. People always talk about how it takes all day to cook the turkey…no it doesn’t. In fact it doesn’t take long at all.
While the turkey business was going on, my sous-chefs, Roberto and Zach, had been chopping up carrots and potatoes for the mashed potatoes. Roberto had started cooking them. It’s a good recipe when done right. I caramelize the carrots with butter then add the potatoes (washed multiple times after sliced to get the goop off so they aren’t gummy). Then add some chicken broth and water to cook till they get soft enough to mash. Then I add some milk or half and half then mash some more!
During all this I got to Skype with my whole family. They could see me, but I couldn’t see them…not fair! They had all gathered around the computer to see me for Thanksgiving. I felt special! also got to watch some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade streaming online. I don’t often see it anymore, because I never wake up early enough on Thanksgiving : ), but with the time difference I saw some of it!
People started arriving just before 9:30pm. We waited on Marta and Jordi to get here before we started eating. They arrived at exactly 10. Marta was not feeling very good because of the bus ride which was bumpy and crazy. The driver had been trying to avoid flooded roads and some he could not since they were coming from Shannon airport (Shannon River is the one that had flooded with so many problems just south of Galway). Needless to say, Marta had gotten a bit sick. She came in and took a shower to freshen up before joining us.
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Souffle
Mashed Potatoes with Root Vegetables
The dinner plate
I was trying things as I was going through the buffet style line hoping I wouldn’t run across something disgusting! I was quite surprised that even with all my substitutions and crazy methods of preparation I not only liked everything I tasted…I LOVED it! I stayed quite and sat down waiting for everyone else to start digging in. I wasn’t sure how foreign taste buds would react to the American feast. To my delight everyone showed compliments on me. Monica was humming as she ate (her sign of pure satisfaction) and Zach told me it was the best sweet potato he’s ever had. It’s always nice to hear the compliments that go the extra step. Marta joined us and although she wasn’t up to eating, she tried the items and went back for more mashed potatoes.
While we were all gathered I decided to go ahead and play Santa Claus. Yea, it maybe wrong to combine two holidays into one, but hey, I’ve already had a Christmas party before Thanksgiving, so there! I didn’t know if we would all be gathered (and only these people) again before I left. I actually had everything ready, so I brought out the sack.
I handed out the gifts:
Demelza got a sketch pad, colored pencils, a sharpener since she is always drawing everyone as well as some fuzzy bedroom socks. Before the end of the night she had used it to draw portraits of Marta and Monica;
Monica got the colorful tights she’d been pining over, a photo album and some body lotion;
Marta got a photo album and fuzzy bedroom socks as well as a candy bar;
Paula got a make-up utensil kit and some flashy royal blue (her favorite color) earrings to wear for her New Year’s party in Madrid;
Zach got an old hardback book set on the high seas during World War II. It had crisp yellow pages and I thought it would be a good read on his way home. He also got a candy bar and a patch of Ireland. I figured he’d eventually want something to show he’d gone to Ireland;
Jordi got some electric yellow shoelaces for his futball cleats and a candy bar;
Roberto got a coupon for a tiramisu date at a little Italian café I discovered, an orange chocolate candy bar (a favorite) and the piece de resistance – a flashy gold thong! Yes, I did it. It had been a running joke since we all went Halloween shopping. They had these at Pennys not as a costume, but as a legitimate piece of clothing. However, we all joked it should have been Roberto’s costume. When he opened it, everyone howled! He laughed and immediately tried it on…over his jeans. It was labeled: Halloween Costume 2010.
The night was a success! We all relaxed going in and out of sleep from full bellies. There is enough leftover even after feeding eight for lunch tomorrow. I finally got Monica to show me a few tricks on Photoshop for editing photos in bringing out the color, sharpness and contrast. There are so many options; I could spend forever on it.