We were going to just skip Thanksgiving. The plan is to take advantage of the two days the kids have off from their American school for the holiday to explore a little more. The rest of the school kids in Nicaragua are starting two and a half months of vacation, but I am hoping that my sons don’t notice. We made reservations in Jicillio for Thursday and Friday night so that we could be back here for a day of rest and catch the first night when the Virgen leaves the Cathedral for Purrisima.
But as I checked in with friends back home talking about children coming home, making big dinners, trying new recipes, I started to have these moments of longing. The vision of rain pouring down, windows steaming up with cooking, welcoming travelers produced an immediate compression in my chest and made my eyes sting. After days of deflecting these sensations and concentrating on the wonders at hand, I decided to make a little Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday night before we go to the beach. I invited my Chilean/Danish neighbors over. I went to Price Club and bought a butterball. Now I would never eat a butterball in the states, but I haven’t been able to find a fresh Chompipe (Nicaraguan Turkey) here. Everyone says, “Oh yeah, you used to be able to get those, now people just raise them themselves in their own house.”
I was discussing fresh poultry and bemoaning my lack of access to it with Moni (a frequent topic of discussion between us). She told me families usually raise their own chickens for Christmas dinner or buy them live from the market and slaughter them at home. She said, “If you don’t like killing and cleaning them, I can do it for you.” I convulsed with laughter. As if killing and cleaning chickens was just one more domestic task I could now afford to hire out. But of course I must have done it before when I didn’t have any paid help. I tried to explain to Moni that I am the second generation in my family that has never killed anything to eat. So now I am on the look out for a hermosa (a word I used to think meant pretty but actually means plump here) chicken or turkey to bring home to Moni.
As for tomorrow’s menu, in addition to the butterball, apple pie, mashed potatoes, salad and rolls. Moni will be here all day to help.