I celebrated my first Thanksgiving 20 years ago, in 1997, when I was fresh off the boat:) Nadir and I had been in San Francisco for precisely four months and at the time didn’t know a lot of people. A wonderful colleague of Nadir’s at work and his lovely wife invited us to their home where I proceeded to make a fool of myself in front of their family!!
After our meal, the hostess announced that we would go around the room and briefly mention what we had been most thankful for in the past year. I’d already started getting nervous before my turn to talk since I've never been much of a public speaker. My nerves plus my homesickness along with our hosts’ kindness and generosity got to me and I burst into tears and started crying loudly and inconsolably!!! Seriously, I cannot recall a more embarrassing moment in my life. I barely knew that sweet couple let alone their families….
Fast forward 20 years and here we are in South Bend, Indiana, at my Chacha (Uncle) and Chachi's (Aunt) place where we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving or Shaikhsgiving , as one of my adorable cousins has labeled it, for almost 15 years!!!
It’s always the four of us plus our Chachi & Chacha, their three children and their spouses (two spouses, to be precise), 2 dogs (Ollie and Alfie but we missed Malala, the cat, who couldn't join us) and any other cousins who are visiting or are in neighboring states and feel like joining us. Every year we have an assortment of veggie-centric recipes that we all work on individually but cohesively in the lovely, roomy kitchen. Chachi, without fail makes the Turkey (this year there was a Tandoori version and an all-American one) and all the decadent desserts. And Chacha makes breakfast (the yummiest Pakistani omelettes) for brunch on Friday afternoon. The recipe link here is one that I found online and is very similar to what he makes.
Thanks to my darling friend Jarr's recommendation, this year, I made Brussels Sprout Latkes with Maple (I used Agave) Mustard Yoghurt. Try them - they were easy to make and just yummmmmy!
Every year Chachi gets all the girls/women in the family a pair of pajamas each that we all wear after our Thanksgiving meal. And given how much I live for & LOVE pjs (it's in the About section of my blog in case you missed it) that's definitely the best part of Thanksgiving weekend for me.
Another one of my favorite traditions is the sweet prayer Chacha says prior to us starting the meal every year. And last but not least are the personal "what-are-we-thankful-for-most notes that we all write that are then placed in tiny, colorful gift bags. During dessert (with all of us in our new cozy pjs), the youngest member of the family reads out the notes one by one & the rest of the people have to guess who could have possibly written that particular note.
These are some of the sweet traditions that make up our Thanksgiving - a far & welcome cry from me bursting into tears like I did in 1997 in a room full of strangers!
But don't get me wrong, there are plenty of tears (mine mostly and yes I'm unnecessarily emotional) as we say our goodbyes on Sunday morning before heading back home.
This year I've been most thankful for my exceptionally hard-working (& always handsome) hubby, my two kind, loving considerate & healthy children who I'm so fortunate to call mine and for our warm & cozy home.
I would love to hear what you've been most thankful for this year. Please feel free to share it in the comments section of this post. I promise to respond to each & every comment personally.
Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you!
A special thank you to my budding photographer daughter, Lyali, for my posed photos:)
Always the stirrer, Sobia