Monday, 16 November 2009

10 reasons you know it's (almost) winter on Long Island...

1. The New York Times recreational forecast changes from Fall Foliage Watch to Mountain Temperatures, after pronouncing that the fall colour everywhere except North Carolina is 'past peak'. (Poor North Carolina, not allowed to revel in its moment of 'peak' glory...)

2. You spot cars with their ski-racks on. And it's still 18 degrees centigrade outside....

3. Enormous trucks with gigantic hoses, making the noise of small airliners, trawl along your street every other day to collect piles of leaves.

4. Meanwhile all your neighbours are zealously preparing for winter, removing vulnerable plants and employing large gangs of 'landscapers', looking a little like the Ghostbusters with huge contraptions strapped to their backs, to leaf-blow.

5. Everyone ominously keeps telling you to make the most of it, because this will be the last mild weekend. The following weekend, they tell you the same thing.

6. You go to a beautiful seashore preserve for a weekend stroll and wonder where everyone else is. Then you pop into the Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot on the way back and it is mayhem. Everyone is shopping manically for 'the holidays'.

7. Your child comes home from preschool singing a mysterious new song. The exact words are a little unclear, but sound like 'the pumpkin rolled away, on Thanksgiving Day.' You wonder if this signifies the removal of the ubiquitous Halloween decorations and the putting up of Christmas ones....

8...Then you see an inflatable turkey on someone's front lawn (something you joked about in a previous post) and realise that Thanksgiving decorations come first.

9. People keep asking you what you are doing 'for the holidays'. When you reply that you are British and Thanksgiving is not a big deal for you, they simply do not believe you.

10. You start wondering what on earth you ARE going to do for Thanksgiving, seeing as cooking a turkey for four people seems excessive, and everything else will be closed.....

20 comments:

Iota said...

I like the new name and header!

How about a chicken, and pretend it's a very small turkey?

Mud in the City said...

Love the new header pic!

I constantly get confused with 'the holidays' vs. vacation.

Inflatable turkey? Really?? Or why not totally confuse all Americans in your locality with a traditional English panto! (Totally unknown outside the UK).

Trying to explain why the Dame is played by a man, but the principle boy by a woman, not to mention the hearty calls of "he's behind you!!" or "oh no he isn't!!" will leave them convinced of our innate eccentricity.

conuly said...

Make a ham. Ham is easy to make, it's just as traditional, it's relatively inexpensive, and it's yummy.

I toss my ham in with a glaze made from a jar (12 oz) of raspberry jelly (really, all fruit preserves) that I've melted on the stove with a tablespoon of vinegar and some black pepper. It's never failed me yet. Cook for 12 minutes per pound (I think - google it), with foil over it until the last half hour. Periodically go and spoon more foil over it.

Buy a pumpkin pie (no use baking it yourself, it's not YOUR holiday, so just cheat and buy one) and make some cranberry jelly from the recipe on the back of the bag of cranberries, and maybe cook some green beans to go with the whole meal. Voila - one perfectly traditional Thanksgiving meal that is wonderfully yummy. (You probably also want mashed pototoes, but I'm sure you know how to manage that.)

Nota Bene said...

Well, how about partridge. Or chicken nuggets....

Home Office Mum said...

Am so jealous. I LOVED living in the US at this time of year. And I really got into thanksgiving. The point is excess. So go large. Get a turkey. Eat it all. Buy Bon Appetit magazine - they always do a fab spread for Thanksgiving with about 10 different types of starters, potatoes, veg, stuffing (which incidentally is NEVER stuffed in the turkey), pudding and 15 ways with pumpkin.

Gorge yourself. Watch telly. Become American.

PS Can I come too?

Millennium Housewife said...

Oh I do feel for you, ANOTHER holiday? More decorations?? Come back for the holidays and enjoy decorating nothing.

Expat mum said...

Oh just go out for dinner- everywhere will be putting on a Thanksgiving meal. Just don't do what we did about 5 years ago and not book. We trailed round Chicago for hours and ended up in a diner! Good job I wasn't bothered about Thanksgiving in the first place so wasn't at all disappointed.
Oh and be sure to put the emphasis on the 2nd word in Thanksgiving.

nappy valley girl said...

Iota - thanks, I thought it was time for a change. (The photograph was taken by The Doctor a couple of weeks ago; the view is from just a few miles up the road). And yes, a chicken would seem like the obvious answer....

Mud - Thanks; The Doctor will be so pleased that everyone admires his photoraphy. Yes, panto really would confuse them. Here, apparently the Christmas tradition is to go to see the Rockettes in New York....

Conuly - That sounds delicious. I think we're leaning the way of the chicken at the moment, but ham is always a nice thing to have at this time of year (in the UK we often have it on Boxing Day).

NB - That sounds truly fowl....

Home Office Mum - good tip about the stuffing, I never knew that. And as for gorging myself and watching TV? Wouldn't dream of it ;-)

MH - yeah, it's a real drag. Don't worry, I intend to bring the Long Island decorating traditions back home to Nappy Valley....

Expat Mum - we might have to go out. The boys are already learning about Thanksgiving feasts at preschool, so no doubt they will expect turkey et al. (And thanks for the pronunciation tip - I HAVE been saying it wrong...)

Almost American said...

Will preschool have a Thanksgiving lunch on the Wednesday? Ours always did - parents sent in all the food except for the turkey which was provided by the center. My usual contribution was a gallon of cider. (The American kind!!)

My first few T'givings in the US I mostly seemed to get invited to other people's houses because they couldn't stand the thought of me "being alone for the holiday"! Like I cared - but I did get some good meals out of it!

There are only 4 of us here, potentially 6, and we will still have a turkey. The point is to have leftovers and the carcass to make soup with. Yumm! When my FIL cooked the turkey, he always put the stuffing IN the turkey. We don't, and he calls that 'dressing' instead, even though the ingredients are the same.

Definitely don't bother making pumpkin pie yourself as you may not even like it, but you should try it. I like the flavour, but not the texture.

baby cribs said...

I really love this time of the year where everyone is excited and gay especially for the Thanksgiving!

conuly said...

Conuly - That sounds delicious. I think we're leaning the way of the chicken at the moment, but ham is always a nice thing to have at this time of year (in the UK we often have it on Boxing Day).

It is delicious. I'm not a fan of turkey (although I did a great one last year brining it, and this year I hope to get an heirloom turkey for Christmas and I have high hopes for that*) so I always make a ham too.

And the advantage of my meal is that it's easy. Like I said above - it's not your holiday, so why kill yourself to get that "perfect" meal like a lot of people do? Do something easy. Ham! It just sits in the oven 'til it's done!

*My mother is going to HER mother for the holiday, and my sister is going to her mother-in-law. Given that we all live in a house together, I'm going to be left alone. My mother keeps suggesting people I can drop in on (family friends who'll ultimately use me as free babysitting, my sister's aforementioned mother-in-law who grates on my nerves), but I think I'll just use this opportunity to bug bomb and head to the nearest open bookstore.

nappy valley girl said...

almost American - Yes! They are having a Thanksgiving feast, I was just told about it yesterday. Bizarrely, we have been asked to provide 'a bottle of blue cheese dressing'. How peculiar....

baby cribs - yes, indeed, everyone does seem very excited...

Conuly - Would love to know where you get your heirloom turkey from? We are going to have turkey at Christmas, but The Doctor refuses to have a supermarket one....I've been scouring websites to see where I can order one.

conuly said...

I don't know, I haven't gotten one yet. I'm going to ask around at the Union Square Farmer's Market tomorrow, see if any of the farmers there raises turkeys... and if they have any available. I'm pretty sure I can get one there, actually.

If that fails, I'll ask at my CSA, where they actually did pass out information about a supplier a few months ago, but I lost it.

(If you're curious, a CSA is a program where you sign up at the beginning of the season to get a variety of produce for the next few months. You don't get to choose what you get, and if the farmer has a bad year YOU have a bad year. The one I go to is the Prince George CSA, because they run a winter CSA and because they have a payment plan option.)

The Union Square Farmer's Market is in Manhattan, of course. Let's see.... Well, there's no easy way to manage that, but you take the LIRR into Penn Station, take the A/C/E two stops downtown to 14th street and transfer to the L crosstown another two or three stops until Union Square. The Farmer's Market runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Friday is probably the biggest day, unless you *want* to go with the kids. But you know, when I go I'll ask the guy if they go elsewhere as well.

Go after Thanksgiving and hit up the Christmas fair, there's this woman who comes from France every year to sell these amazing truffles, and they're SO good. And the Wonder Warmers people sell their Wonder Warmers, reusable hand-warmers, which have become my go-to christmas gift.

rosiescribble said...

Suddenly I feel uneducated for knowing so little about Thanksgiving. It is fasintaing to read about like in the States. I'll be back to hear more and gain an education!

nappy valley girl said...

Conuly - thanks! There is a farmers market here on Saturdays, I will ask them there.

Rosie - I knew nothing about Thanksgiving either....and am still finding out. Yesterday my haidresser told me that Thanksgiving Eve is 'the biggest party night of the year'. Who knew??

Almost American said...

'the biggest party night of the year'? Hmm - I've lived here 24 years and didn't know that!

You do know that the Friday after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) is the best day to go shopping for Christmas, don't you? (Running, ducking and grinning . . .)

conuly said...

Actually, I think Black Friday is the WORST day to go shopping for Christmas. The BEST day is Dec. 26th, when everything's reduced 70%. Just give Little Christmas or New Year's presents instead.

nappy valley girl said...

AA - er, yes, isn't that when people get trampled to death in WalMart?

Conuly - Mmm. I'm not sure the boys would buy that one...in fact I think I'll be doing most of my Christmas shopping online, as I can't stand fighting the crowds.

Almost American said...

That's why I wrote "Running, ducking and grinning"! I was thinking of this Twitter thread where "advice" is being given to foreigners planning on visiting the UK.

I don't plan to leave the house on the Friday after T'giving!

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