October 20, 2014

Thanksgiving in the Tropics

It's hot here. All the time. Morning. Noon. Night. The calendar says October, but it feels more like a heatwave in the middle of July. It's hard to believe that we celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend. Despite the hot weather, earlier last week we pretended it was fall.
We roasted pumpkins. Two tiny halves from different pumpkins bought from the local wet market. Both grown locally, meaning that they are from neighbouring countries. The pumpkins were all being sold in halves. I couldn't find a whole pumpkin! I did see whole pumpkins this week though. They are a totally different variety than those grown in Canada, harder skin (is that what you call it?), paler and bumpier, but they tasted very similar. The grocery stores here are now selling the standard orange pumpkins imported from the US. But at $25 -$50 a pop, um, I think we'll stick with these. It smelled like fall. Did I mention that we were wearing shorts? 

Tracking down the pie filling was the easy part. Making the pastry turned out to be an adventure in itself. So apparently lard is not sold anywhere on this island. Or if it is, I couldn't find it. After a friend and I made a trip to the butcher for some pork fat, I then had to render it to make pastry. Um, what?! Thank goodness for google. It was actually an easy process. I know you're dying to know how to do it... Just cut up the pork fat into cubes. Put in a dutch oven. Add 1/3 cup of water. And cook it uncovered at 300F for about 3 hours or so. Just check it every 30 minutes. Pour through a strainer. Let it cool. And voila. C'est tout fini! Easy peasy. But smelly. Be warned. Heck, just go some Tenderflake from the shelf, unless of course you live in Singapore. 

Andrew ordered a turkey. Not quite the same as ordering a turkey in Canada where you order one so that you are guaranteed to get the size you want. Here you order a turkey so that, well, you can actually have a turkey. Andrew was more than happy to continue the long tradition of bringing home a turkey in his red backpack. Before moving to Guelph, Andrew trekked home many a turkey from the St. Lawrence Market on the GO train. This year, same backpack, but wearing shorts under palm trees. Crazy!

We brought our roasting pan with us, but it doesn't fit. At all. Not even close. The ovens here are small. Minuscule really. Between a small oven and only three burners, we really had to think about how we were going to get everything cooked.

Thank goodness for tin pans. We actually had to bend it to fit in the oven. But fit it did. Just.

A few hours later the turkey emerged from the tiny oven.  And it was delicious.

 We kept the decorations simple. Maple leaves place cards -- a nice nod to home. Fall colours amongst the palm trees.

And a simple Happy Thanksgiving banner. Letters cut from newspaper and edged in sparkles. Love. We won't mention that there are still sparkles everywhere. Everywhere.

And the best part of celebrating Thanksgiving in Singapore? Friends. For most of them, it was their first Thanksgiving. It was so fun to share our traditions. 

Happy Thanksgiving  and happy fall to everyone back home!

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