We have had many firsts since being in Swaziland, but as Ben mentioned in his Thanksgiving post this was probably one of the most memorable. Although we didn’t get to celebrate with our family and friends from back home, we did get to celebrate with some very special Swazi friends. And even though I didn’t get to make deviled eggs with my grandma or eat my sister’s green bean casserole, we still had some delicious eats. Ben was in town all week, so we ended up having Thanksgiving a few days late on Saturday. Here is a run down of our menu / evening in pictures.
Mikayla’s turkey napkin rings
Mikayla’s textured THANKS banner
Let me preface the food run down – we can get most foods we want in Swaziland, but some are very difficult and near impossible to find. We searched around for a turkey and ham in all our usual spots and then got a great lead on a turkey from Sharon (the childcare director) and the sisters stumbled upon a hunk of ham at a more "Western" grocery store. Some of the foods we had to alter a bit, but I will explain that more as we go.
Turkey before. This was our first attempt at making a turkey and I think it turned out pretty well. We made a rub of olive oil, fresh rosemary, garlic, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt and then a dusting of cajun seasoing over the whole bird. The we stuffed him with celery, onion and carrots and roasted slowly until the cute red button popped!
Turkey after – isn’t he beautiful? And I don’t even like turkey! Thanks to Ben who did most of the work on this guy.
Steve Kickert’s sweet potatoes, which I think were a recipe from his grandma (but I could be wrong on that one). I know you are thinking, those just look like regular potatoes, but they are sweet potatoes. In Swaziland the sweet potatoes are red on the outside like we are used to, but on the inside they are white.
Ham pieces cooked in brown sugar, cloves and a little water. I miss ham!
Turkey all cut up and then green beans, mashed potatoes and the world’s best gravy courtesy of the sisters. Seriously wish I could make gravy as good as this!
Sausage and apple stuffing. I found this recipe last year and it has become my go to recipe for stuffing (which ironically I only make at Thanksgiving – I think I will change that though).
In this picture we have my Grandma Clark’s famous cooked apples and my Grandma Adkins deviled eggs. Just a note on the deviled eggs. We were unable to locate sweet pickles so Ben took some sweet and sour pickles we found and altered the juice. It wasn’t quite the same, but it worked well enough. We also had some butternut squash and a wild green (weed that resembles Spinach) cooked up by Sharon.
Homemade dinner rolls
For dessert we had an apple braid (not pictured, but posted about previously). We also had this pie. It looks like pumpkin pie and tasted like pumpkin pie, but was actually butternut squash pie. I couldn’t find pumpkin, but butternut squash has the same texture and similar flavor so we rolled with it. In the end we were very pleased with the outcome! You should try it sometime. Just take your butternut squash, cook it and puree. Then use like you would canned pumpkin. I used this recipe my friend Catherine found for me. For the crust I made a recipe found in Betty Crocker cookbook. I originally made the crust found in the recipe above, but it ended up crumbly for some reason. If I were to do over again I would have covered the edges of the crust with foil so they wouldn’t burn.
**To cook the butternut squash cut into large chunks and put in a shallow microwave dish – skins up. Add a little water to the pan and cook until tender. Take peel off and then mash with a spoon or fork.
We ended up having 10 guests including us. The three of us, Sharon (childcare director), Esau (Maintenance manager), Johannes (Agriculture manager), Ncobile (Office cleaner), Ndumane (used to live at the hostel and now works in maintenance), Mrs. Mamba (works with pyscho social department and is also a teacher at the primary school), and Mzamo (works in the office with Ben doing HR). The sisters helped with some of the cooking but didn’t make it to the meal.
In this picture (starting with Mikayla and going clockwise) you have Mikayla, me, Ncobile (the "C" is a clicking sound to start the name), Johannes, Esau, Sharon and Ndumane. Those not pictured arrived later.
After dinner we had the usual conversation time (be sure to read Ben’s post mentioned above for details on this) and then introduced them to the Wii! It was great fun and of course Mikayla bopped around and was Miss Social Butterfly! We also enjoyed a great Thanksgiving song courtesy of Mikayla.
All in all we had a great time, enjoyed some fantastic food (if I do say so myself) and wonderful company. We hope everyone had as good of a Thanksgiving as we did.