Then Stephanie and Renia started working. I think Stephanie is the “dish-slave" because she kept the dishes totally washed. Renia and I did quite a few as well, but Stephanie, when she had a moment she didn’t know what to do, she washed dishes. Stephanie’s mom, you did a great job raising this girl! Stephanie and Renia peeled apples for the apple pie. Yes, no thanksgiving is complete without the apple pie, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. The interesting thing is that I could find no pumpkins in Moldova, and so Mike and Myra saved the day with canned pumpkin from the states! All our pies are square, or oblong, none are round. While they peeled, I made pie crusts. Not the same process for me as in the states, but I am the only cook who doesn’t say, “I usually buy the pre-made crusts from the store. . .” although, when I hear that from Myra, I don’t worry. She is the best cook in the world – I think! Sorry mom!
Then they peeled potatoes for ten people. That’s a good amount of potatoes. Then it was time for the turkey to be prepared for the oven. Actually, Ron had to prepare the pan for the oven. It was just a tiny bit too large, but he fixed that. The pan isn’t as pretty but is as good as it was in the beginning. So, I washed the bird, buttered and salted the bird, used paprika on him (for color, you know) and I used a bit of Greek seasoning. I hope it wasn’t a sacrilege to all you good cooks, but finding all the spices I recognize is sometimes more work than I want.
When we finished all that, we lit the oven in the other kitchen downstairs and Stephanie will study her Romanian and watch the pies bake. I hope she pays attention. Then I started to make the green bean casserole. This is a totally American dish. Mike and Myra brought us French Fried Onions and cream of mushroom soup! And Sue had sent me two cans of soup (I saved them for a special day – this was it!). This is such a great day! And it’s only noon! Dinner is at 5-6. We are having fun!
As time for this dinner came closer, life got busy! Brandy was in the kitchen creating her southern brand of turkey dressing, Stephanie was mashing potatoes, Myra (who is a saint) was making sure the rest of the guests got what they needed and was heating her sweet potato casserole, and I was overseeing the whole thing! That kitchen gets smaller and smaller but it was great fun. Brandy provided the football game for Mike, Ron and Lilian. The American men were teaching this Moldovan guy the finer points of American football. The game was a college game from Georgia. The meal was delicious, loud and fun and the fellowship continued until eleven or so. Thanksgiving in Moldova was not unlike Thanksgiving in America. A lot of work, a lot of food, and wonderful people and wonderful times! We all gave thanks, but most evident was that even though we were not home, none of us were “alone” on this great holiday. God, the creator of all, had provided family half way around the world to show that His family is not bound by borders or oceans.
One thing I think about a lot is that the first thanksgiving was a cross-cultural experience with a ragtag bunch of Christians from England and some natives (those wise and experienced in the culture) getting together to celebrate that they had so much to thank God for. Life, health, sustenance and each other. Today we are a few ragtag Christians getting together to celebrate thankfulness together in a cross-cultural experience. None of us are in a familiar place, none of us have the same background; but what we have in common is Jesus Christ and the fact that we are thankful that he is always with us! Like the first Thanksgiving, we thank God.