…and one of your new friends happens to stumble across your blog, she will notice that you mention making your own evaporated milk for your pumpkin pie. “Silly girl,” she will think. “You can get it here.” She will give you a can of your very own.


Sunday afternoon. I’m coughing my lungs out here and have already exhausted several boxes of Kleenex. Ilsa’s cold has come upon me. The boys have friends over and are duelling it out for dominance of Europe during WWII. Right now, the Russians appear to be winning. (It’s Axis and Allies, a game which I remember my brothers playing when I was a little girl)

Thanksgiving dinner was fine, and the Brits were very thankful. Many things were just a little burnt and crispy round the edges, which is not ideal but was to be expected given the limitations of my tiny, borrowed oven. In fact, we had only half the dressing I intended; it burnt so we scraped out the inside, put it in a bowl, and our guests would have been none the wiser had we not told them. We even had cranberry sauce, bought in a British store in Gibraltar and boasting “real American cranberries” plus some redcurrants. I bought huge slabs of boneless, skinless turkey breast and, unsure, decided to cook them as if they were an entire turkey, and it actually worked.

The pie was very tasty, although the spice was a bit off. I used “quatre epices,” a French spice blend that includes black pepper as well as ginger and cinnamon, so the pie had a nice little after-bite that I rather liked.

Of course everyone had school/work all day, so we ate about 7:30 or so. It’s not good to eat an enormous Thanksgiving meal, complete with cheese course because, well, just because we could,  and the French totally supported the American Revolution so it makes sense to me, plus I love cheese. This sentence is too long so I’ll start over. It’s not good to eat so much so late in the evening. You need time to digest and go for a walk. And of course, the alarm went off next morning and everyone was back to school/work, with no time to recover. I think next year we will celebrate on the weekend.

I usually avoid stores at all costs on the day after Thanksgiving, but this year I ventured out. I figured I’d be safe from getting trampled by crazed perspectiveless shoppers, and I was. I ended up at the Moroccan version of Costco. I didn‘t know it existed either and no one was more surprised than I to enter a store called Metro, where they sell gas heaters for less, and discover a place that felt like medium-sized Costco, selling normal-sized items for slightly less. A Muslim feast is coming up soon, the one where everyone must sacrifice a sheep if they can at all afford it, and I read with some bemusement my opportunity to enter a raffle and win a sheep! I was tempted, but really, what would I do with it?

We bought a space heater that takes a big gas bottle and we’ve been running it a lot. The place is positively toasty. That’s because it’s Tuesday now and my voice is beginning to come back, although Donn is still down for the count and Elliot is sickening rapidly.

I hope I’m better soon. I spent today in bed reading Ilsa’s books, as I have worn out my own supply. My friend who gave me the evap milk has a nicely-stocked bookshelf but I’m too sick to walk over there and borrow something. I’d better get well soon, or I may be reduced to finishing a mystery novel left on the bookshelf here. This book was purportedly written by a cat (could it get any cuter?) in which the animals talk to each in italics (how twee!) and call their human owners “mom.” (I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth!) I started it last night but wisely switched to children’s books just in time.