In Israel, the only time that whole turkeys are available is just before Thanksgiving, mainly for American ex-pats who want to celebrate away from home. The turkeys are by special-order only. We didn’t need a turkey in November this year, since Fulbright hosted Thanksgiving for all of the fellows in Tel Aviv, but we thought it would be nice to have a Thanksgiving dinner for our Israeli friends. We drove to Ra’anana and picked up a bird, which sat in our freezer until last weekend. We invited Sarah’s graduate school friend, Yaffa, her husband Menachem #1, and their 2 kids; Yaffa’s mom, Shoshana,  who teaches Sarah’s weekly Feldenkreis class; Sarah’s colleague, Anat, & her husband, Menachem #2; and Roy’s friend Mikael. We cooked for 2 days + some prep work the week before. We made all of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, with some Israeli twists.

Noah waits by the window. He doesn't understand "fashionably late."

A few fun facts:

– the sage in our cornbread stuffing was foraged on a hike at Nahal Yagur

Mikael is the expert carver!

– since Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, we harvested our backyard lemon tree and served limonana (lemonade blended with fresh mint)

Our big table, note the pitcher of limonana.

– not being fluent in Hebrew meant that the pre-made pie crust we thought we were buying for the pumpkin pie was, in fact, puff pastry. A new tradition or a reminder that homemade pie crust is always better?

I wondered why sticking a fork in the crust didn't keep it from puffing up.

– all of the wine served was from Israeli vineyards

– for the past few years, we’ve served whipped sweet potatoes with chiles in adobo. We were having trouble finding chiles in adobo here, so we were going to make do and use harissa instead. When we found a can the first time we went to the grocery store at Kibbutz Yagur, Roy did a little dance in the grocery aisle.

– Thanksgiving in February is actually a Berger-Goodman tradition. When we lived in Hoboken, the main grocery store was the A&P. They ran the same promotion that all of the A&P’s on the east coast ran around the holidays – spend a certain amount of money at the store, turn in your receipts, and receive a free turkey. In most towns, where there is competition between grocery stores its a good way to attract customers. In Hoboken, where there really wasn’t an alternative grocery store anyway, it meant that we got a free turkey every year without doing anything we wouldn’t have done anyway. Since we and our friends spent Thanksgiving with our families, we kept those turkeys in the freezer and had Turkey Party 2000 and Turkey Party 2k+1. Good times . . .

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