Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving in Sri Lanka

My evening started in at the gate of the big temple near my house waiting for Susie. She had a meeting there, which was lucky for me because we could share a tuk to Nirmalan's house. As I waited I watched a man hit a dog with his umbrella in the temple complex. I don't understand this form of Buddhism.

Anyway, Nirmalan, Tharushi, Todd, Kay, Susie, Anu and I all headed over to the Intercontinental (which is actually the Ceylon Continental, as it changed its name a few years ago, but apparently people still call it by the old name) for Thanksgiving dinner. My expectations for this meal were way too high.

Basically they took their normal Thursday night buffet (which is Indian food) and added a bit of turkey and giblet stuffing, charged twice as much, and called it a Thanksgiving buffet. So no vegetarian stuffing, no cranberry sauce, no mashed potatoes. I'll have to do some cooking this weekend to make up for it. They did have pumpkin soup, but it was yellow and we all decided it did not taste like pumpkin. This disturbed me the most because they definitely have all the ingredients for pumpkin soup -- pumpkins are everywhere here.

But what they did have was quite nice. Maybe not $25 worth of nice, but nice all the same. I think my favorite dish was the cashew and pineapple curry. They did not skimp on the cashews (which, even though they are grown here, are still quite expensive), in fact in my entire spoonful I think I got one chunk of pineapple and the rest was cashews. They also had palak aloo (spinach with potatoes), many, many meat dishes (on regular Thursdays they give a discount to vegetarians, but not on Thanksgiving) and many, many desserts. They did in fact have pumpkin pie (again yellow, so I didn't even bother) and pecan pie, but the pecan pie was the kind that is mostly jelly filling, which is not my favored type of pecan pie. The passion fruit concoction was really, really good. I've become a devotee of passion fruit. The chocolate mint cake was o.k., the icing on it was wonderful. And for my sugar-free friends, they did have sugar-free ice cream (which I didn't try). This is basically unheard of here, so obviously they were trying.

It was all worth it to hang out with new friends and talk and laugh. Really it is the companionship of Thanksgiving that makes it enjoyable. Plus, I must admit, it is nice to get through a Thanksgiving without football. In DC, for the orphan dinners, we rarely watched, but when I go to any section of my family, football is usually included in the day's events.

So I think this weekend I'll make mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. I still have half the pumpkin left after my cookies. I could probably make some sort of stuffing too. Hmm, that sounds good.


Jennifer said...

For my sake, please, any time you can get a hold of it, eat as much mangosteen as you can stand. Please.

Jessica L. said...

They are out of season now. The mangosteen season is dreadfully short and that has left me very sad. Now is the woodapple season -- woodapple season seems to last a very long time, which also makes me sad. Woodapples suck! Oh well.