Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!Despite heavy rains, flooding, emergency action plans and general difficulties, the majority of the PCVs in Panamá managed to have a good Thanksgiving. We managed to move the location of our gathering by more than 200 miles to get out of the flood impacted areas and still get 3/4 of the attendees to show up and eat the feast. Kevin and I were the head cooks and in charge of the kitchen and all things related to food. It was kind of like running a search and rescue command base but with taste testing. Because we were taking over the kitchen of the hotel they said that they did not want to provide any other food service...so we ended up providing 3 meals= dinner Wednesday, breakfast Thursday, and Thanksgiving. It was a marvel of team work that was wonderful to be part of.
The hotel treated us brilliantly. They moved an extra stove in from the owners house for us...giving us two slightly smaller than USA stoves to work with. They cleared shelves and a frigerator. They stayed out of the way but close enough to answer questions and to ask some of thier own. Even with all of thier help I was worried about how things would turn out...I ended up making the pie crusts without any measuring cups to help me...and I am not a pie expert. But everything ended up well. There were tons of compliments and very few complaints (mostly about the pie not being amoung the leftovers).
We made 4 turkeys, 3 hams, 40 lbs of brocolli, 45 lbs of mashed potatoes,vegitarian lentil loafs, cranberry sauce, stuffing, 8 "pumpkin" (zapollo squash really but tastes the same) pies from scratch, two large apple cranberry crisps, herbed butter, turkey gravey, ham gravey, veggie gravey, and orange juice, hot chocolate from local Panamanian chocolate, and real whipped cream.
We had the perfect amount of turkey and ham and pie. Everything else had a bit of extra...but the PCVs shared with the hotel staff and everyone kept nibbling until midnight. Many ate leftovers for breakfast.
Needless to say, we were exahusted the day after. The last of the pies came out of the oven at midnight on Wednesday and the hams went into the oven at 6 am on Thursday.
A good safe time was had by all. Well, the guy who was silly enough to make a bet over a football game had some not-so-fun moments as he paid up on the bet (which was to have his back waxed...silly boy...what was he thinking?). We even had a random couple of American travelers pay into the pot and join us for the meal.
So we are thinking of you all. We are very thankful for you our family and friends.We miss green bean casserol, and sweet potatoes...but we can hold out hope for those and the hugs that make Thanksgiving such a powerful holiday in 2009.