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Arno's family have been exceedingly kind to me in my time here. We intrude on Joke weekly and make her cook for us, make Tom drive us (sometimes just me) around town to various appointments or occasionally just to get groceries if the weather is out-of-the-ordinarilly wet, they have both gone with me to appointments on days when Arno is working and isn't there to speak on my behalf, and Simone and Giovanni have had us over from time to time and will be taking us, and my dog and her kennel-crate, to the airport at 5 in the freaking morning next week. (Arno and I made a slight miscalculation when ordering our tickets... we will be in Phoenix at a reasonable time for my mom to be able to pick us up and drive back to Flagstaff that night... but we neglected, when looking at flight times, that the flight leaves at 8:30 am... meaning we have to be there at 5:30 to check Kayenta through.)

Anyway, with this weighing on me already, and the fact that Arno's parents and his sister and brother-in-law have both had us over for food a dozen times or more and we had not had a chance to invite them over, I decided I should make dinner, and of course, Thanksgiving was on its way, so we figured that would be an appropriate custom to base a visit on. Thanksgiving Thursday is, of course, not celebrated here, so we made it Sunday instead. This gave me a little extra time to prepare things, both literally and in my mind. The only drawback of Sunday being, the grocery store (ALL stores, pretty much, actually) is closed... in this case, it was open for a few hours... noon to 4, or something.

I actually started preparing foon on Friday, making "cranberry" sauce. (The package appeared to contain cranberries when I was looking at it, and when we ran into an actual rack of Ocean Spray cranberries in the produce section, I decided the frozen "red berries" I'd picked up were just as good... I think they may have been logan berries instead... Ikea seems to make a sauce out of the same kind of berry.) I also made my great-uncle's rice dressing, which Arno complained about, because it was making the milk taste onionny. Saturday, I made stuffing, roasted six turkey breasts, made mashed potatoes, and helped Arno clean the house top to bottom. I also had to send Arno to the market to find vanilla extract, something he was unsure about. Sunday, I was up early (nerves) and put together greenbean casserole (no fried onions, but it was good with almonds and breadcrumbs), sweet potatoes with marshmallows (half of which were pink.. just to make ABSOLUTELY SURE that Dutch people know they're candy), and started on making bread pudding and apple crisp when I realized I was out of eggs, so Arno was sent to his sister's to borrow some. (You know how this goes... you're at the store, and your boyfriend says, "Do you need to get eggs?" and you say, "No, I don't think so," and he says, "Are you sure?" and you say, "Yeah, we have some at home," but when you look for said eggs in your fridge when you need them for your baking, there's only one lonely egg in there... And then you feel rather guilt-riddled for sending significant other out to seek eggs on his bike, in the cold, to a place that may or may not still be open, or call on the relatives to help...)

Everyone showed up a little past 5:00, which was fine with me, because I was still trying to encourage the oven to hurry the hell up. (Arno's oven, by the way, is a glorified microwave... only about 1.5 ft high and 2 ft wide.. if I'd demaded a full-size roasting pan for the occasion, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to get it in.) Simone was kind enough to make gravy for me, since she wanted to know if there was anything she could do to help, and I'd forgotten that. The desserts baked while we were eating dinner.

In my experience, it's always better to have more than you need rather than not enough... but when serving eight 12-serving dishes to five Dutch appetites... well, there was a lot left over. ;p The sweet potatoes, for one thing, were much too sweet and rich for the Dutch pallate. Arno, as mentioned, is a picky eater to begin with, but I had not noticed that his father was even less adventurous with food--Tom only ate turkey. (Sorry Tom... had I only known, I would have made you something recognizable...) Otherwise, dinner was a hit. Unfortunately, I'm still trying to eat up the leftovers a bit at a time, a week and a half later!

Oh, also, pumpkin pie did not occur; a package from my mom, mailed on Nov 16th, containing a can of pumpkin and some Thanksgiving-themed plates and napkins, did not reach me until two days after our Sunday dinner. More on that another time, though. (And if you're bored, search the above pile of food for 4 turkeys, 3 hams, 2 pumpkins, a bicycle, a tire, and a human hand.)

There is little more that I can add to the above. Beedoo! worked her tail off making that dinner (thank goodness for super glue). I am deeply impressed by all the work that she put in. Honestly, compared to all that, fetching a few eggs is hardly a significant imposition.

Fun fact: Beedoo! has been eating left-overs for 10 days!