Thanksgiving in the West Bank
My American friends and I discussed how to celebrate Thanksgiving in Palestine for several weeks before the event, which is Eid al-Shukir (festival of thanks) in Arabic. At first we considered going to the swank American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem and shelling out serious money for a fancy meal, but in the end we decided it would be more fun to have a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at R and D’s apartment in Ramallah. We had a few discussions about how to work around the limitations of Palestinian supermarkets (from a Thanksgiving perspective) then we got to work. Wednesday I went to a fancy supermarket out of town and scored Betty Crocker pie crusts, brownie mix, and butter in stick form. Then I met R downtown and we went to collect the turkeys from the butcher. R had ordered the turkey’s previously, and they slaughtered fresh just for our consumption. When we picked them up they were hanging on hooks, de-feathered thankfully, but with their heads still attached. . . We transported the birds back to R’s apartment, then I went back to the fruit market and picked up two kilos of apples. I met MR at the center of town at 5pm, and then we went back to his place to make apple pie (‘cause I don’t have an oven). Turns out neither did he, but his landlady was kind enough to let us use her oven upstairs.
It is a bit challenging to make apple pie without any measuring utensils or pie pans. With a lot of guesswork and the help of a half full water bottle (needed a rolling pin) we created two rectangular apple pie type desserts. We did, however, burn the brownies a bit . . .
R and D had located a local bakery that agreed to cook our turkeys for us (they have big ovens) so that part of the dinner was out of our hands. Luckily, everything came out really well. We had stuffing (okay, it was rice stuffing but it was still good), green beans, sweet potatoes, couscous salad, mushroom salad, garlic mashed potatoes, pie, brownies, baklava, kanafa, and chocolaty marshmallow things. And a lot of beer, wine and arak. We invited most of our friends, so I think there were more people celebrating their first Thanksgiving than there were Americans, but it was a lot of fun. After some clean-up, we went to the only dance club in Ramallah for a little while, then called it a night.