Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Island Paradise: Thanksgiving in Orkney

I spent my Thanksgiving doing something I'm very, very thankful for: graduating. Of course, I was so busy that day that my Thanksgiving chow consisted of a little chicken wrap, a ham and cheese sandwich around 13:45 (thank you, Captain John!) and chicken fillets and chips at the Machar around 18:30. Not exactly a full dinner with all the trimmings, but in all honesty, I haven't had a real Thanksgiving dinner since 2009.

Well, that changed this year. Without naming the venue, there's a cafe in Kirkwall, and since I've become a regular there, the proprietor (whom we'll call The Intrepid Chef) asked if I'd be interested in attending a joint Thanksgiving/St. Andrew's Day celebration. I thought it was a really cool idea, so I was onboard from the start. Although it was delayed by a few days to fit with everyone's schedules, we met up on Sunday afternoon.

The Intrepid Chef went all out, as you can see from the picture - and although I can't remember what I ate at the Archie Simpson last year when I met up there for an informal quasi-Thanksgiving gathering with a couple of American friends, I'm going to go out on a limb and claim that 2013 was the first time I ever enjoyed haggis for Thanksgiving. The Intrepid Chef even made - no joke - a pumpkin pie. She was very nervous about it, but she nailed it. The two other Americans who were in attendance joined me in being absolutely stunned by the whole event. I love Thanksgiving, and it was so exciting to share it with folks who have quickly become close friends, in a place that I've loved for so long. It was an indescribably special experience that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

Of course, not all Brits have any clue about Thanksgiving, as evidenced by the following video.

So, I hope everyone back home had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I sure did - twice!

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