Happiness Around a Table

As many of you know, I’m a British lass temporarily living in the US. Previously unaccustomed to American traditions, last year we were Thanksgiving virgins. Kindly invited to celebrate the event with some new American friends and their family, I can say with hand on heart, it was up there with one of the best days I’ve had.

It was like Christmas but without the focus being on presents. In essence it involved a lot of food, noise, chatter, happy people and a plethora of overexcited dogs and children. There were no strange gifts of apricots steeped in brandy from a distant relation destined to remain for years beyond their sell-by-date at the back of the kitchen cupboard, (the apricots, sadly not the relation ); no more tie-dyed bandanas from a well-meaning great aunt Flossie; and no more pairs of amusingly decorated socks from the halfwitted uncle with a penchant for filthy jokes in front of the aforementioned Great Aunt Flossie and the children. Just everyone bringing a little something to contribute to the meal itself and a great deal of happiness.

Being at times unable to shake off some of my rather stuffy British traits, I do however find the group hand-holding and public verbalising in front of a large group of mainly total strangers what I am grateful for to be utter purgatory. Being unable to speak in public, (and by that I mean in front of more than a group of two people), as last year my moment for the firing squad of eyes to be directed upon me approached, my mind went blank, my unfortunate neighbour had to endure my increasingly sweaty palms and starry dizziness began to take hold. This of course is a classic case of brain becoming overwhelmed, body and aforementioned brain entering total paralysis, followed by a tendency to fall rather dramatically to the floor, thereby requiring smelling salts or a slap around the face to bring me around—the former obviously being preferable to the latter. However, with a hefty glug of wine and a determination of not wanting to let the British side down, I managed to stutter a little drivel about friends and family and excellent food. My darling husband long since being aware of my propensity to drop indelicately to the floor, gave me an encouraging smile.

He however was seated at the far end of the table, next to our hostess, the warmest and most kindly of women and at an age of well over eighty years. With total sincerity and a broad grin he looked her directly in the eye and confessed to being grateful and honoured to having been being seated next to the best-looking chick at the table. They have been firm friends ever since.

So with Thanksgiving once again just around the corner, there’s understandably a lot of talk at the moment of what we’re grateful for and I’d just like to say to everyone (without you having to hold my sweaty palms) that I’m grateful for all of you. For listening to my drivel, reading my nonsense and encouraging me and each other for our lovely little blogging world.

Katie x

Food Glorious Food!

As I typed the title of this post, the song from ‘Oliver’ burst from my lips making the Colonel leap up from his slumber in bewilderment. It was, after all only six o’clock in the morning.

“Sorry darling. Got a bit carried away.”

He made a harrumphing, grumbling noise to make his displeasure known and then settled back under the bedcovers.

Back to the original point … Food.

Food in Manhattan is monumentally expensive. For my lovely British friends let me tell you that a can of baked beans is $3.49 which in today’s exchange rate equates to £2.87 … two pounds and eighty seven pence for a can of sodding baked beans. We no longer eat baked beans.

Meanwhile, a loaf of bread last week was priced at the equivalent of two of those cans of baked beans! We don’t eat bread now either.

However, whilst I scrabble around in my purse for the last few pennies, there is a little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Or should I say, a Costco. Indeed, it is at the end of the tunnel because the nearest one means taking two subways, or to get the biggest and best Costco, a subway, a boat and a walk. Take your pick.

Costco means buying in bulk. Costco means buying in bulk but extremely cheaply.

Now, each and every cupboard in our apartment is filled to the gunnels with vast vats of gloopy washing liquid, a bin bag full of pineapples, enough loo rolls to keep every Andrex puppy in England happy for months, and more tin foil than you can wrap a dozen turkeys in. I shan’t bore you with more detail, but you get the picture.

The Colonel however, is happy. Always one to enjoy a good deal, he smiles at our over-filled cupboards, content and dare I say, a little smug in the knowledge that should Manhattan ever have a power cut again and we are stranded, we shall at least be able to get a grip on the washing … oh, except last time all the water cut out too.

Nevertheless, the sun in streaming in through the windows and although I won’t be having toast for breakfast, we do still have four rather large pineapples in the bathroom cupboard that need eating up …

Katie xx