Happy Thanksgiving!

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This year was my fifth Thanksgiving away from home. While it breaks my heart to away from the established traditions, lively discussions, delicious food and my wonderful friends and family, I am delighted by the wonderful new and established traditions that shape my own celebration!

My friend and I befriended a Turkish man with a New York accent on the bus, while we were returning from the Sabanci Museum yesterday. He was a Business professor at the esteemed Bogazaci University and lived in the United States for many years, while teaching at Temple University. We started by talking about Seattle and the Bosphorus, but after leaving the bus, our interaction continued with one final conversation. He reemerged from the crowd to wish us a happy Thanksgiving. In fact, he was off to celebrate with his Turkish American friends!

He inspired us. His enthusiasm for American life and Thanksgiving was surprising, but also endearing. Originally, I was saving all of my energy for our established weekend extravaganza with friends (we always reschedule Thanksgiving festivities to ensure we get the whole weekend to celebrate and prepare), but we decided to have a Thanksgiving dinner of our own last night as well. Now, keep in mind we came to this decision at 6 PM last night…so we did not have much time.

How do you prepare for Thanksgiving dinner in 2 hours?

We bought Rotisserie Chickens, instead of finding and preparing a Turkey ourselves (a difficult feat at this time of year in Turkey…it is used only for New Years dinners)

We bought 6 large potatoes, butter, milk, white cheddar cheese and green onions for my special version of mashed potatoes. Peel, cut, boil, mash…and they are ready in one hour.

We bought two loafs of bread from our local bakery, as well as some onions and mushrooms for a special stuffing. We cut the bread into cubes and poured it onto a tray, stuck it into the oven for 25 minutes and then mixed it together with chopped onions, melted butter, mushrooms, sage, rosemary and pepper. Then, we poured 2 cups of chicken broth over the stuffing and stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Finally, we made an Autumn salad. We prepared the red-leafed lettuce,and chopped up small pieces of apples, Feta Cheese (it’s called white cheese here) and green onions. We threw in pieces of pomegranate and sprinkled some thyme. We made a balsamic vinaigrette with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices and several pinches of brown sugar. What a treat!

With Fall leaves spread out over the table, two bottles of wine, blues music in the background and candles lit we came together to enjoy the meal and share what we were thankful for. My answer? Wonderful friends, the infinite love and support of family, a perfect romance and marriage with the man I love and a rich, joyous and dynamic life full of new experiences, great people and numerous opportunities.

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