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There is a certain level of mayhem that I expect from any holiday function at The Mom’s and it has become a tradition. One doesn’t need to go out and actually kill one’s dinner, but you do need to look alive once you’ve been given your plate otherwise a dog will relieve you of your food, and The Mom, citing fair play, will not refill your plate without a serious amount of coercing.

I know most other people’s holiday traditions are more subdued, but I do enjoy the chaos back home. And I miss it, too. It just doesn’t feel like a proper Thanksgiving if I haven’t had to arm wrestle several hounds to get a piece of pie.

At any rate, I wasn’t going to do anything for Thanksgiving this year as I’m getting ready to move, but in doing that I’ve been making the rounds catching up with friends I haven’t seen in a while and so it happened that a bunch of us got together for Sunday lunch. And I decided to call it Thanksgiving.

My friend who had offered to host the lunch is Italian. She asked what she would need to do to ensure that a proper and traditional holiday meal was provided. Having never really had Thanksgiving at a normal house before, I simply explained what I would expect at The Mom’s.

“Well,” I said. “We’re going to need a pet with serious attitude problems. Preferrably a hound.”

“No hounds here, love, but we do have a cat that gets into trouble.”

“We’ll make do. We also need two kinds of cranberry sauce, but we could get away with one unless vegetarians are coming.”

“No vegetarians. No cranberries in the shops.”

“Right. We’ll ignore that for now. I’ll make pumpkin pie.”

“Good. Anything else?”

“Well, in my family, you’d also need someone to have a miserable cold or flu, someone ought to try and cut him or herself with a knife so that we have to make a trip to A&E, someone will be delayed by bad traffic, and we’ll have an argument about who gets the leftovers.”

We tried our best. There were multiple diversions on the roads as another friend and I drove from Hackney out to the suburbs, but we had left with plenty of time and so weren’t late. My Italian friend did cut her fingers a tiny bit, but it required only a plaster. The cat did wind up in the neighbour’s bedroom, but was largely unimpressed by us lot.

And I did make pumpkin pie, with tofu instead of Carnation milk only because I think that kind of milk is a bit weird, but I always forget that the recipe I use is American and so there’s about fifteen minutes at the start of cooking where you blast the pie to cook the shell. Thing is, over here, I use a premade pie shell and only remember this when the smoke alarm goes off. Oh well, I know for sure that the smoke alarm has probably gone off at The Mom’s house too.

We had a very nice afternoon. We were loud, talked over one another, shouted, had some wine, and some beer, then another glass of wine and we ate all the food. It was lovely. It wasn’t quite a Canadian Thanksgiving, but for an English-Italian hybrid Thanksgiving it was first rate.

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