the groaning table at our Thanksgiving party last Saturday
On the heels of the report of my first successful Thanksgiving here in Slovenia,* some New York friends sent along an interesting an article from the New Yorker (abstract here) by a woman who's cooked Thanksgiving in seven different countries. It was a harrowing tale, and one section especially jumped out at me:
"The worst was a dinner I put together in Södertälje, Sweden, in the fall of 1975, for the families of three Yugoslav workers from the local Saab-Scania factory. It wasn't the food that failed. My cranberry (well, lingonberry) sauce was good, and the turkey, fresh from my babysitter's boyfriend's mother's oven, across the street, even better. But my guests, as history soon showed, didn't really think of themselves as Yugoslavs. They though of themselves as Serbs, Slovenes, and Croats, and, while, they had always been agreeable and even effusive when we talked alone, they were not in the habit of breaking bread together. The conversation was, putting it nicely, strained; it flowed with the slivovitz that the men had brought, and each of them brought two bottles. They were close to brawling when the Slovenian's wife opened a box of homemade pastries -- flaky, buttery, mille-feuilles layered with thick whipped cream.** Peace returned to the kitchen table in my borrowed flat and lasted until, flushed with compliments and brandy, she smiled at the Serbs and Croats and said, "Slovenians make the best cakes."
* Super holiday party. 15 people strong. Juicy turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more!
**kremšnita without a doubt