Embracing Thanksgiving

Three foreigners celebrate Thanksgiving in Nepal for the first time. They share their favourite recipes for the amazing Thanksgiving feast with Travel & Lifestyle

Mark Harris

Singer and songwriter Mark Harris came to Nepal in April 2015 to open an art studio in Sindhupalchowk with his friend and rapping partner David Tashi Lama. He has been a regular visitor to Nepal since 2006. For Harris Thanksgiving is a time to gather around and sit for a meal with family to celebrate the harvest. “The ritual is the same every year. It offers a chance to catch up with family members, to learn what they have been up to, how life has treated them so far. My uncles have become old men. My cousins grow older with me. Change is the only constant in life and amidst all this Thanksgiving Day for me is to be thankful for the people in my life who despite having undergone changes remind me of familiarity. Thanksgiving also means eating turkey for dinner and turkey sandwiches for the next days,” says Harris. It will be Harris’s first Thanksgiving in Nepal and he plans to visit The Templum Society Art Haus where he’ll attend a hosted dinner.

Harris’s favourite pumpkin pie recipe

Ingredients:

Eggs— 3 large

Canned pumpkin—    1 cup

Evaporated milk – 1 cup

Sugar—    1/2 cup

Maple syrup— 1/4 cup

Ground cinnamon— 1 teaspoon

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Ground nutmeg—1/2 teaspoon

Maple flavoring—    1/2 teaspoon

Vanilla extract— 1/2 teaspoon

Additional pie pastry, optional

Whipped cream, optional

Method

In a large bowl, beat the first 10 ingredients until blatantly smooth; pour into pastry shell. Cover edge loosely with crack foil. Bake at 400° F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F; bake 40-45 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove foil. Cool on a window sill. If decorative cutouts are desired, roll additional pastry to 1/8-inches thickness; cut out with one inches to 1-1/2 inches leaf-shaped cookie cutters. With a sharp knife, score leaf veins on cutouts. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° F for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Arrange around edge of pie. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

Lee Eames

A traveler and music enthusiast, Lee Eames, University graduate from New York City, USA came to Nepal in September. He is the Co-founder of Art Haus, a cultural space and residency dedicated to the production of all types of subversive creative content. He spends time writing, reading, meditating and learning Nepali.

He says that Thanksgiving, like most holidays, is a time for family and food. “Its significance to me is wrapped in the sights and smells of the lost innocence of childhood. As I grow and change, the feast stays the same, and thus allows a periodic spiritual homecoming. Aunts, uncles, and cousins seem more distant as I age. But, each Thanksgiving we joyfully return to each other, and of course we relish the Thanksgiving turkey,” says Eames, adding, “My family's Thanksgiving tradition is pretty loose. The only requirements are the food: turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. It is also imperative that the family community joins together in the shared ritual blessing of our food.” It’s Eames first Thanksgiving in Nepal and he plans to attend The Templum Society's Thanksgiving Banquet to celebrate the festival.

Eames shares his favorite Cranberry surprise:

Ingredients:

Freshly squeezed orange juice— 1/4 cup

100 percent cranberry juice, not cocktail—1/4 cup

Honey—1 cup

Fresh cranberries– 1 pound (approximately 4 cups)

Methods:

Combine the orange juice, cranberry and honey in a two quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for five minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool for five minutes. Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a three cup mold. Place in the refrigerator for at least six hours and up to overnight. Remove from the refrigerator, overturn the mold and slide out the sauce. Slice and serve.

Max O’Hara

A passionate piano and vocal teacher, Max O’Hara, lives in England. However, he is currently in Nepal working at the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC). He is in Nepal for two months and will be leaving at the end of December.

He says that Thanksgiving was always just about his family and eating. “When I lived in Boston, Massachusetts, all my family from around the US would travel to my grandparent’s home in Rhode Island and we’d eat as much food as possible. When my parents, my little brother and I moved to England, we didn’t celebrate it as much, but the family reunions and the excessive food have been the two elements of the celebrations that have stuck with me as the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Of course, the other big part of thanksgiving was family touch football (American football). All the relatives, no matter what age, would meet in the garden while we were waiting for the food to cook. Everyone would get involved with the football and it was always an enjoyable thanksgiving event,” says O’Hara. He doesn’t celebrate it as much in England, however he says that his mum usually bakes a cake and they might call a few relatives in America. “I haven’t been in Nepal for a thanksgiving festival yet, but this year I think I’ll call my family back home and remind them how thankful I am of everything they’ve done for me,” mentions O’Hara.

O’Hara shares his favorite nut roast recipe:

Ingredients:

Chopped onion— 1

Vegetable oil— 30 ml

2 tsp yeast extract in 1/4 pint hot water

Chopped mixed nuts – 225 g

Ground almonds – 2 tbsp

Whole meal breadcrumbs – 100 g

Salt and pepper to taste

Methods:

Pre heat over to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Sauté the onion in the oil until soft, not browned and combine all of the ingredients together; the mixture may be slightly slack. Turn into an oiled over proof dish and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and serve it hot.