A Hungry Mountaineer’s Anglo Indian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving
Once upon a time it was okay to take a selfie with family.

If there is one thing my boyfriend and I both love it’s throwing a good party. Obviously, we love to host Thanksgiving. Pre COVID-19 we were known to have friends over for a home-cooked authentic Indian dinner every few weeks. Now in this time when hanging out with friends and family is basically frowned upon we are desperate for some friend time like in the good old days. Like way back in 2019. Like most people we know, I don’t think I will ever take for granted again the ability to hug a friend, carpool with a coworker, high five someone in a MAGA hat or hug my grandma when all this pandemic bullshit is finally behind us.

Depending on what area of the country that you live in and if your color-coded virus tracking color is purple, salmon or rainbow maybe you can actually spend the Thanksgiving holiday being thankful to be with friends and family this November. I truly hope you are blessed to be able to at least break bread with family this Thanksgiving. 45

Good morning it’s turkey day!

Thanksgiving
These kinds of Indian spices take the blandness out of Thanksgiving.

If it’s autumn here in southern California then it’s probably a beautiful seventy degrees fall day. A perfect warm fall day to celebrate what we are thankful for with just a few friends and family in the backyard. I would sing “Oh what a beautiful morning” But Comrade, I mean our California Governor, Gavin Newsom says singing is no longer allowed here in Communist California, I mean southern California. But just because we can’t sing with family this Thanksgiving does not mean we can’t have a good time celebrating a slightly ethnic Thanksgiving holiday. My south Indian-born boyfriend has really influenced my cuisine in the past six years and my cooking has really become more diverse and yes delicious as I add cumin, coriander and anti-inflammatory turmeric to just about everything. So yes, our Thanksgiving holiday might be celebrated over nine thousand miles from Bangalore India but the savory dishes I came up with for our family celebration are so very Anglo-Indian influenced.

An 80’s Thanksgiving; Big hair, jello salad and a jackalope

I can remember when I was a little kid my mom would always get up before dawn to stick a giant turkey in the oven hours before friends and family would arrive. Mom is not a morning person like I am. She would never get up when it’s still dark to lace up her running shoes or take the dog on a sunrise walk. Thanksgiving morning was basically the only time our household woke up early. I can always remember she was never happy about getting up this early. It was usually my dad’s fault. While my mom was up at dawn cooking and basting a turkey my dad might have been in the garage trying to skin the rattlesnake he picked up on the side of the highway in Arizona to make a belt. Or he could have been searching through all the junk in the garage looking for his eight-track player or his stuffed jackalope. Or perhaps he decided to walk his Siamese cat around the neighborhood on a leash. It’s hard to say with him. He could be anywhere doing anything.

Thanksgiving
Remember when the family was allowed to gather and even sing or chant?

If you are also getting up early on Thanksgiving by around eleven a.m. or so you might be ready for one of my favorite autumn coffee drinks, a Pumpkin Spice White Rusian. It also makes the family more fun! Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to have friends and family over to have some Pumpkin Spice White Russian’s; Easy to whip up and full of holiday cheer for anyone over twenty-one.  We might not be able to sing or, heavens, chant, this Thanksgiving in California but at least we can enjoy a Kahlua spiced espresso drink with the family.

A wanderlust-full Thanksgiving

Happy holidays from Goa, India.

Last winter as the holiday season was screeching to an end, we spent the days bookended around Christmas and New Year’s on holiday in balmy southern India. We spent so much quality time on the beaches of Goa India with my boyfriend’s family and that family time feels so precious now. Here we are less than a year later when we can barely spend time with family who live on this continent let alone loved ones overseas. Spending the holidays in a country like India is such a different experience than American Thanksgiving or Christmas. Our Indian adventures overseas and the spice-filled cuisine we adore so much definitely inspire our American menu when planning our annual Thanksgiving meal. And let’s face it Americans, the pilgrims liked their food very bland. Adding some Homemade Curry Spice serving my amazing Mint Chutney or these tangy Garama Masala Pumpkin Chips can really add the zip to your bland American Thanksgiving.

As someone who loves to travel and has more wanderlust coursing through their veins than most people, sometimes we just like to get the hell out of town for Thanksgiving. It’s very tempting with a four day weekend on the horizon to book a beach holiday or an off-roading sand-filled adventure with friends. Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving like sand in each and every crevice as we found out that one time we traveled to Glamis California with some good friends for turkey day. There was a lot of holiday cheer, a lot of wine and a lot of sand.

Thanksgiving

After our very sandy trip to Glamis with friends for Thanksgiving, I can most definitely say, nothing says Thanksgiving like sand. Everywhere. That being said, for people like us Glamis is the kind of sandy adventure I’m good with doing once. We have also celebrated Thanksgiving on the beaches of Baja California trying the regional soup, Nut Cream. Now I’m not sure if nut cream is just a traditional Mexican Thanksgiving day soup but I wouldn’t make it for my own family although I’m sure both of my brothers would enjoy the nut cream jokes. I would do Thanksgiving on a Mexican beach again in a heartbeat, but that is a hard no on Glamis Thanksgiving.

More kittens, fewer politicsThanksgiving

This late autumn we are thrilled to be hosting Thanksgiving at home in Big Bear Lake, California. More family fun, way less sand and hours on the road. Oh and bonus for my animal-loving family; Our family Thanksgiving includes kittens as we have two new arrivals to our mountain family. During this insane year of 2020, there are not a lot of awesome things to look forward to but a kitten-filled Thanksgiving gets everyone feeling festive. When hosting a holiday feast in 2020 just remember two things, kittens make the holidays fun, political discussions do not! The number one thing we are thankful for during this crazy pandemic is the newest member of our family. I feel like I went to hell and back in my quest to find us the perfect kitten. Attempting to adopt a kitten during a pandemic must be just as hard as attempting to adopt a baby. To adopt a new furry feline friend you have to jump through a lot of hoops here in southern California. As in I had to drive multiple times over seventy miles from home to find us the perfect kittens. But here we are a week before Thanksgiving and we have two perfect little fluffballs ready to meet the family.

So many years we find ourselves traveling outside the U.S. for the holidays and this November we intend to stay home in Big Bear Lake and are thrilled with that decision. We might not be in Bangalore but this Indian Spiced Turkey with a Date Chutney Glaze can take us straight back to the smells and spices of sultry India. It’s a delicious take on a bland American style turkey and yet it’s not too spicy for grandma. I’m so thrilled to be at home in Big Bear under the pines this holiday season, even if we have been self-quarantined for way too long at this point, mid-November.Thanksgiving

Last Thanksgiving my boyfriend and I were actually snowed in for Thanksgiving which is something that has never ever happened to me before in thirty-five years of living above 6,500 feet! It was awesome but we did really miss family. It’s so crazy to look back now and think we put aside a chance to get together with the whole family just because the roads were icy and the traffic was bad. Here we are a year later and I yearn for holidays spent arguing with family over our political beliefs and complaining about dad’s farts. (Okay maybe I don’t miss dad’s farts) Last Thanksgiving day, my boyfriend and I sat on the front porch all afternoon watching the snowfall. We took breaks to create one of my favorite Indian meals, Butter Chicken. It was not a very authentic American Thanksgiving whatsoever but it was so delicious.Thanksgiving

A vegan and a kitten walk into a bar on Thanksgiving…

If you are celebrating an awesome snowy Thanksgiving I highly recommend serving up a batch of this delicious mulled wine. Two things can make your Anglo-Indioain holiday celebration perfect, ten-week-old kittens and hot alcoholic drinks. This is what winter holiday memories are made of! Mulled wine makes Thanksgiving even more fun even if the family is not with you.

Thanksgiving
Baby, our neighborhood donkey.

It’s always nice to go on an after-dinner autumn walk between turkey time and oh my God can I actually fit in some pie. In our family, we used this time in the early evening to walk over and introduce the family to Baby our neighborhood rescue donkey. And only after visiting baby can we fit in some ginger filled Sweet Potato Mascarpone Pie.

As much as I adore Thanksgiving I’m also thrilled when Thanksgiving is over because then I can put up Christmas decorations and bake Anglo Indian Fruit Cake. I’m seriously obsessed with this Anglo-Indian fruit cake and basically, start dreaming about it in October. I don’t actually buy the rum and dried fruit until around Thanksgiving though because I would be tempted to make fruit cake way too early and if I start baking fruit cakes in October my ass is going to be huge by Christmas.

Happy Holidays from the Hungry Mountaineer!

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