Wednesday, 31 December 2014


After a rushed and confusing first trip to Costco, several hours of late-night dough preparation, and an early start, I found myself somehow sitting bleary-eyed and only half awake on the subway. Presumably Nick just guided me the entire way as I clutched my unnecessarily large bowl of dough still rising, and a heavy bag of the most blueberries and cream cheese I've ever owned.

We finally arrived at the Global English House, cold and only slightly more awake, and stumbled up the stairs to friendly faces and the best kitchen smells a weary traveller can experience.

Embellishment aside, there was a vat of mulled cider heating on the stove, filled with oranges, cinnamon, and a variety of other things filling the room with seasonal smells. Combined with an array of baked and baking things and the soft daylight that seems to always fill the kitchen, it really does feel like we've left Korea entirely.

I know I've always said that I don't really like Christmas, but I've never been shy to declare my love of Christmas food. Theoretically we were here to celebrate Thanksgiving, but it definitely felt like Christmas to me.

The Macy's Day Parade was rewound and played for us to experience the full impact of the event, and I got to work with my dough while we marvelled at the TV. It was...strange.

Affixed to the wall was Erin's military precision planning for each dish, and I started to roll the dough with the largest vodka bottle I've ever seen.

Braid assembled, 3 different pans of stuffing ready to go, and all manner of autumn vegetables sliced, diced, boiled and prepared and ready to eat. My braid went in the oven, (taking on more of a wreath shape due to my poor planning) and we started to move all of the food into the makeshift dining room downstairs.

Things I wasn't expecting: for the bread to nearly double in size whilst baking.
I've made this braid a lot of times, because it's easy to make and tastes good, but looks fancy. This was, however, the first time I'd made the full recipe for two loaves. Usually I halve it and just make one. It was a bit overwhelming at this scale, but maybe I was just excessively excited at being reunited with an oven.

The braid ended up far bigger than expected, and my nice nail polish was deemed a casualty by the baking process.
Downstairs, more great smells were wafting around, including roasted meat, more vegetables, and CHEESE.

I'm quite unabashed in my love for cheese. I'm from the West Country, what do you expect. Something I do miss is the vast abundance of different cheeses for dirt cheap back at home. Well. It's cheap in comparison to Korean prices anyway. £6 for a tiny tub of Philadelphia cheese? £4 for a 250g block of cheddar? I think not.

This Thanksgiving I was thankful for...Erin and Morgan bringing me the gift of cheese.

When everyone had arrived, we got started. A lot of people there had never had Thanksgiving before, being from countries other than the US. It was fun to eat with people from France, Australia, Korea, and many other places, and talk about home.

We all stood in a circle, introduced ourselves and our home country, and said something we were thankful for, and it was really lovely.

Later on Nick and I discussed how impressive it was that so many lovely people could be brought together by two people. It really was a very fun day, and I've taken it as my replacement Christmas dinner for this year.

Most people had brought some contribution to the meal, so the food was incredibly bountiful. After gorging ourselves on several rounds of dinner, the dishes were switched out for all of the desserts that had been provided, and we somehow found some room for that, too.

Stuffing, by the way, is still incredible.

I had my first ever slice of pumpkin pie, and now I want more, because it was so good. I finally got to eat a Lamington, which also didn't disappoint.

Everything was so good. I love food.

As people started to leave and the conversation was winding down, I took this opportunity to take a moody photo of Nick.
A few more hours and one polaroid later, we waddled to the station and dozed in a food coma all the way home. I had just enough energy to take one photo.

Sure, this post was super late, but like most emotion-based celebratory days, we should be thankful for what we have every day, not just because tradition dictates it.

Eat, drink, and be merry.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

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