Oh, what a night!!!…Thanksgiving nirvana…See our menu at the end of the post…

From left to right around the table:  Kathy, Janet, Steve, Don, Louise, Danie, Leon, Dawn, Uchi, Evan while Tom and I shared the end of the table. Total in attendance: 12.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Good-sized turtle crossing the road at quite a pace.

It was definitely a night to remember. Marloth Park friends, all who love the bush and its wildlife, enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal for the first time, except for Americans Kathy and Don.

Thanksgiving dinner on the veranda with friends.

Tom and I worked hard in the heat for two full days to get it all pulled together. No doubt, I did the bulk of the cooking but he washes the cooking dishes; peeled two types of potatoes; helped with the pies; the veranda setup and so much more. We’re quite a team at times like this.

The wine and cocktails flowed along with the lively conversation.

I can’t recall the last time we did a dinner for 12. Surely, it was in our old lives sometime in 2012 before we left Minnesota on October 31st. I’d forgotten how much work it is but the joy of sharing food, wine and conversation with great friends made it all worth it.

On the right, Evan, Uschi, Dawn and Leon.

Fortunately, everything came out well, although, at the last minute with a few items to reheat in the new microwave, we couldn’t get it to work. With time running out to meet the 1930 hrs (7:30 pm) goal of sitting down to eat, I improvised and reheated the items on the stove and all was fine.

We were only off the dining time by 10 minutes. It was wonderful to finally sit down and enjoy the enthusiasm of our guests over the unique flavors of the foods.

Each couple got their own roast stuffed chicken.

We’d given each couple an entire stuffed chicken with the many side dishes. After dinner, with all the leftovers still on the countertop, we handed each couple two takeaway containers to fill with their leftover chicken and any sides they wanted to take home for Sunday’s lunch or dinner.

It was fun and playful to see everyone partake in filling their takeaway containers (brought to us from Jabula by Dawn and Leon). It reminded us of the many years we did the same with our family…take home leftovers and a pie.

Homemade cranberry sauce.

The full-sized pumpkin pies were lined up on the pool table ready for them to load up to take home along with their containers. We served a separate larger pie after the meal so each couple could take home a complete full-sized pie. We served whipped cream in the can with the pies.

It was hard for me not to take a taste of everything not only to ensure it all tasted good but, let’s face it, my resolve faded for the night and I actually ate a few items I’d never eat under normal circumstances. At the end of the evening, I even went as far as having a small piece of the regular pumpkin pie.

On the left, a pan of extra stuffing, in the center, sweet potatoes (they are light colored here, not orange).

Today, with no leftover chicken but plenty of all the other sides, we’ll be roasting a “flattie” chicken, chicken livers and a couple of bone-in chicken breasts. This will allow us to have full meals for the next few night’s dinners. I don’t feel like cooking for a few days.

Of course, today, I’m back to my healthy way of eating and will only have chicken, lettuce salad and steamed spinach for tonight’s dinner while Tom will tackle the stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and the homemade dinner rolls (he sure loves these!).  He’ll have pie for dessert and I’ve promised myself I will abstain.  

More stuffing.

Oh my gosh, there were so many dishes. But, leave it to Louise to have arranged for Vusi to come this morning to do the dishes, clean the house and the veranda, putting everything back to its usual tidy and clean state.  

Tom had a hard time leaving the dishes overnight. We always totally clean up after dinner. But, after the two days of 40C (102F) temps and how busy we’d been, he loaded the dishwasher twice after awakening at 5:30 am this morning, lightening the work for Vusi.

Low carb mashed cauliflower.

This morning, I washed all the linen napkins, cleaned the countertops, did two loads of laundry and organized the refrigerator.  All we have to do for the rest of today is to make a salad and vegetables, cook the new chicken and have another excellent evening on the veranda. A nap may be on the agenda since we didn’t get to bed until 1:30 am and both were awake before 5:00 am.

Last night, we had several visitors in the garden but were so preoccupied with our guests we didn’t pay as much attention to them as usual. Tusker made an appearance along with our favorite warthog pair, two males, glued at the hip, Sigfreid and Roy. We can’t tell them apart since they look identical (must be brothers) so we call each of them “Siegfreid and Roy.” They both respond and did so last night during the party. 

Traditional green bean casserole.  Kathy brought the fried onions back from the US!  Thanks, Kathy!

On Friday night when we returned from Jabula, they were both cuddled up in the garden fast asleep. They perked up when we arrived but waited patiently to see if we’d offer some pellets.  Of course, we did as we will again tonight.

As promised, here’s last night’s Thanksgiving dinner menu which we’d decorated and printed a copy of the menu for each couple to review in order to pace themselves:

Thanksgiving Dinner in the Bush
Sundowners with Light Snacks
Roasted chickens
Stuffing with Sausage, Mushrooms, Onions
Mashed Potatoes with Creamy Gravy
Buttery Mashed Cauliflower
Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Pineapple and Cinnamon
Broccoli Salad with Crunchy Almonds and Sultanas
Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onion Rings
Cranberry Sauce
Homemade dinner rolls
Pumpkin Pies
Whipped Cream Topping, if desired

Have a superb day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 18, 2017:

A fluffed up version on an unknown bird Tom captured in Costa Rica. For more details details, please click here.

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