The alarm on my cell phone goes off as normal, but I’m already, reluctantly, awake. First of all, last night was so cold that I couldn’t sleep–even with two thick blankets and a husband to keep me warm. Secondly, Ilsa has just crawled in with me. She’s been coughing all night and now she is burning with fever. I tell her to stay put and get up to get the boys fed and off to school. It’s a normal day for almost everyone here in Morocco. Thanksgiving is an American holiday and as such has not translated to other places.

Yesterday I bought two kilos of potiron and boiled it up. Today I am attempting to make evaporated milk out of powdered milk. Apparently, this is how it’s done. I have searched through all the suitcases and found my pastry blender but not my cookbooks. This kitchen has a blender but no hand mixer or pie pan. Hmmm. I will make pie in my springform cake pan, and we will have lumpy mashed potatoes, I decide. There’s no rolling pin either.

I make pastry and put it to rest. Last night I left the pumpkin chunks in a colander and got a lot of the water out. This morning, I blend the pumpkin in the blender. I’m excited–this might be my best pumpkin pie from scratch. I’ve tried pies before but never managed to get the texture right. Ilsa coughs on the couch, but after lunch and Tylenol is recovered enough to make table decorations.

I decided that this place is too small to invite lots of people, so we picked our English friends, since they vacated this place for us and don‘t have a kitchen of their own yet. Yesterday, Donn sent them a text: “Roses are red, Violets are blue; we think that Brits can be thankful too.” We got back in reply: “Your thought to have us round is swell. Affirmative–if we’re all well. We gratefully accept to come and fill each empty, rumbling tum.”

Ok then. We’re on.

Poor Ilsa. Thanksgiving dinner is one of her favorite meals. Elliot, on the other hand, dislikes turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and gravy. I feel for his future wife.

The boys are having one of their complicated afternoons. Elliot has class from 2-5 but Abel from 3-4. Although the school is close, I’m not comfortable with letting Abel walk alone. He’d probably be fine, but we have heard some stories. So while the pie is (finally!) in the oven and the laundry is hung out to dry on this cold but not actually rainy day, I put on my shoes and walk him up. He has spent his 3-hour lunch making paper airplanes for Thanksgiving. I realize that’s not a traditional decoration, but how many paper turkeys does one really need?

The pie comes out! Looks fine, although it burned a bit in spite of cooking in nearly half the time. Smells really good. The whole house is warmer from the oven. Morocco is as cold as Oregon, we’re finding, with one big difference: no indoor heating! We’re going to buy space heaters, but taxis don’t go to the store where they are substantially cheaper, so we’re going to wait till someone can take us. Send slippers, comforters, sweatshirts!

A few minutes respite. The boys will be home soon. Our guests will come around six. Ilsa doesn’t look well; I wonder if she will make it to school tomorrow. (Our guests are just getting over this, so I’m not worried about them getting it. Me, on the other hand, I’m worried.) Things are starting to come out of the tiny oven, and they tend to be burned. This oven heats up to 500 degrees very quickly, which is a bit hotter than I need for dressing. I have a minute to sit down with a cup of tea before putting the turkey breasts into the oven. How will this work? I’m not sure, to be honest, but this is long enough so I’m going to post it. Updates later.

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for this year?