There are two semestral breaks all students in the US and Canada look forward to: Easter and Thanksgiving.
When I was a student there, this meant flying from New York to Paris, where most of my family were based then, or taking a break somewhere new with friends.
I remember one Easter semestral break in the City of Light. I had just flown in from the US while some friends had just arrived from a skiing trip in Switzerland. I was late for that trip. My friends had the most beautiful gear, but none of them knew how to ski except one. Perfect example of “If you can’t play, display!”
Among the eight guests in our one-bedroom apartment was a young Benazir Bhutto. I was told she was the daughter of the president of Pakistan. Little did I know she would one day become her country’s Prime Minister, and eventually be assassinated. She was a classmate of one of our friends studying at Oxford in England.
I remember her to be very quiet. I also remember her eating almost everything with catsup.
Thanksgiving break was another story. I would pray that I get invited to one of those homes that took the Thanksgiving dinner seriously. I love roast turkey when prepared properly, with all the stuff that went with it: mashed potatoes, lots of gravy, super stuffing and cranberry. I enjoy this so much that I look for restaurants that serve this all-year-round, like the Denny’s breakfast chain in the US.
In Manila, I remember a friend, Carla “Carmiling” R. Tenco, who does a superb version of roast turkey, with the best-tasting stuffing I have ever come across. I just remember that the stuffing has a lot of castañas. Sarap!
Turkey is to America what lechon is to ours. It’s amazing how the Thanksgiving tradition has also reached our shores. Many homes now hold a festive dinner of roast turkey.
Last week, in our Bible study group, we discussed power parenting in love, and the topic was accountability. The suggestion was for us to do something different from the usual. Surprise the family.
I had the perfect idea. I ordered roast turkey from Bob and Ninay’s (tel. 0918-9098850, 9840065) to surprise everyone—a whole plump golden brown roast turkey loaded with a delicious paté-flavored stuffing with a tinge of cranberry, some lumpy mashed potatoes and piping-hot gravy.
Pinoy usually have steamed rice; for a change, I had pita bread. I also usually prefer dark meat, but for turkey, I love the boring white meat. Taken with mashed potatoes, hot gravy and stuffing, the meal made for intense satisfaction.
One sign I’m enjoying the meal—I don’t stop saying how delicious the meal is. I was doing this the entire dinner. The whole family, including my mom, loved it. I just wish the turkey came with more gravy. But it was a memorable dinner nonetheless, and one meal I will forever remember.
For dessert, I served Nathaniel’s frozen buko-pandan from Pampanga. (It has a store along Timog near Quezon Boulvard, Quezon City.)
A turkey meal can be had any time, but since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it’s what I would recommend. Happy eating!
Cornell Club Philippines will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Nov. 17. We are inviting all Cornell alumni to join. E-mail Cayuga@gmail.com; call 0916-5933080. See you there!
I also have a live cooking demo at the Maya Kitchen in Makati, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., on Nov. 24.