In 2010, our first year in Congo, we were not sure how to celebrate Thanksgiving. We gathered with one of the few other Americans in Kananga, our friend James, and another friend, the “Americanized” Jim for dinner at the local restaurant. We all enjoyed some pizza and a night out, grateful for the simple things in life. I must say that since then (and perhaps before that too), James and Woody Collins have both been party to some elaborate American-style cooking to bring the celebration of Thanksgiving to Kananga (including bringing a frozen turkey from the U.S. in a cooler!!)
Pizza at Mona Lux with James and Jim in 2010
This year, we are in the U.S., and we appreciate the gift of being with family for this holiday as well as the familiar foods that have been passed down through our families on this holiday. We have enjoyed sweet potatoes and lots of pumpkin, Aunt Mabel’s cranberry holiday salad, and the classic stuffing – trying to recreate the flavor from Bob’s grandma. We have enjoyed the cooking and the camaraderie and memories that it brings, especially with these classic dishes.
Bob pins up the turkey
A holiday tradition – a backgammon match between Bob and his Dad
As I am stuffed with food and feeling lethargic, I know that the food is not the real meaning of these holidays. But with a day like Thanksgiving, I think specific foods can be triggers – memories or traditions that remind us of the greater significance of taking time to be grateful and celebrate the intangibles of life. Just like the feast days in the Old Testament and the opportunity to remember all that God has done, on Thanksgiving we get to stop and count our blessings. As we share food, we reminisce about times together in the past and are grateful for each other and God’s faithfulness past and future. So, we are storing up the recipes and look forward to trying some while we are in Congo, with some substitutions of course, but with the spirit of the tradition!