Thanksgiving! And Other Things…
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, if a little belatedly. I hope your feasts were as wonderful as mine. We all got together at my friend Carol’s place, and cooked up a delicious meal, consisting of roasted chickens, and roasted vegetables. We added a fruit salad and some pastries for desert. To make it Azeri, Carol’s host mother made a cabbage dolma that was fantastic, and we added in some picked vegetables and a fresh cucumber and tomato salad. Delicious. It was quite what one expects for Thanksgiving, but it had all the good spirits anyone could ask for. And tea, we drank lakes of tea.
I tried to describe Thanksgiving to my host family, and inevitably there was a miscommunication. I started to explain how generally, our families get together, watch football, cook a huge delicious meal with potatoes, casseroles, vegetables, ham, chicken, turkey, and pies. I had to backtrack after the turkey part–the word for turkey in Azerbaijani is hindushka. The word for India is Hindustan. So, for a few minutes, my host family was believing that everyone in America gets together and makes food from India. I cleared that up.
The other thing is that they do have turkeys here. If we had the means, we could have acquired a turkey, but we probably would have had to kill it and clean it ourselves. That’s a task no one in our group was up to. And they’re relatively expensive.
Lastly, the “Other Things” I mentioned–Today is the beginning of Qurban Bayram, or what you may see referred to as Eid al-Adha. It’s the time in Islam when they commemorate Abraham’s sacrificing the sheep instead of his own son to God, or Allah, or whomever. The wikipedia page has a pretty extensive description of what’s happening. What this means for me is that my family is going to be slaughtering a sheep today. They may have already done it. They’ll kill it in the Halal fashion, and then the meat is to be distributed to the poor in the area. My family isn’t overwhelmingly Islamic, but they do celebrate the holidays. One other thing to note around here is that the price of sheep skyrockets today. Usually a sheep will cost 150-200 Manat. Today, the price will be well over 400 Manat, due to the ridiculous demand. Hopefully it all goes well. I’ll fill you in on any desirable details when I get the chance.