Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Swissgyptian Thanksgiving

Another wonderful Swiss-Egyptian Thanksgiving! The Swiss-Egyptian Thanksgiving is a two day event.

Day One
: Quasi-traditional Thanksgiving meal including the bird, spuds, carrots, and three hundred other traditional side dishes. However, we also include non-traditional items like Saag Paneer and Hummous. Wine, dont forget the wine, lots of it, with additional backup wine, just in case 7 people actually manage to drink 14 bottles of wine.

Day Two: Fondue. Who doesnt like fondue, particularly when it is made by our hostess, who lived in Switzerland. Along with the fondue there is wine, naturally, but there is also Cherry and Apple Brandy. Or as I like to call them, the stuff that is so strong it causes your throat to close up and the rest of you to hallucinate. If you survive the 'Brandy' there is an outdoor Shisha station with your name on it. The Shisha is a big community water-filtered tobacco pipe which usually sports an Apple tobacco.

There are regulars for the Swiss-Egyptian Thanksgiving and new people are always welcome. But, sometimes we forget to educate the new people on how best to interact with the Egyptian Hostess. So, since we had an indoctrination by fire episode this year, I thought it best to educate future Swiss-Egyptian Thanksgiving attendees.

First, the Egyptian hostess is extremely gracious. Accept her graciousness or you will be perceived as insulting. You're so on your own if that happens.

Secondly, when you are having any dinner at the Egyptian Hostess' house there is a single non-negotiable, not-open-for-discussion rule: The more you eat, the more you love her. And you should love her, alot. Whenever there is a noticeable empty space on your plate the Egyptian Hostess will leap from the table to quickly adminsiter a helping of whatever seems to be missing.

There are several techniques to avoid over-eating and therefore retain the waistline you had when you arrived. My technique is to take a little bit of everything making sure that the plate looks full. Then, after waiting a reasonable period of time, I go back for 'seconds', which involves making noises with the serving implements in the kitchen while taking virtually nothing. This imparts love to the hostess without unsavory effects. Remember not to leave a detectable empty space on the plate; parsley and other garnishes are excellent for this purpose.

Next, and this one is important, when you no longer wish to consume alcoholic beverages you should simply leave your glass full. Techniques like placing your hand over your glass or saying 'No, no more for me please, I cant feel my face' will not be effective. The Egyptian Hostess will translate these actions to mean that you are being polite and would not like more until everyone else has more. She will be impressed by your manners but she continue to fill your glass when you aren't looking. This is particularly important at the end of the evening when the Cherry Brandy is gone and she starts mixing Pear Liquor with your residual Cherry Brandy professing that 'this is how it is done in Switzerland'.

Overall, keep in mind that even though you are in the US and the Egyptian Hostess is part American, the hospitality is distinctly Middle Eastern: eat, drink, laugh and leave your amusing American boundaries at home. The Egyptian Hostess always has a spare bedroom so intoxication is not a good enough reason to stop having fun.

There will be another installment on how best to beat the Egyptian Hostess in the I'm-paying-for-dinner game, which is a favorite pastime of ours when eating out.

If you can read through the satire you know we had a fantastic time. Thanks Noeha! And thanks to Alana, Arjun, Niyamat, Todd, Lauren and Paul.


Blogger Adam said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I find all other cultures to be so much more gracious and welcoming than americans. We appear so cold compared to other cutlures.

Your friend sounds like my grandmother was with food. True hospitality.

3:09 PM

Blogger Jim said...

I did Adam, couldnt think of a better Thanksgiving. I hope yours continued to be relaxing :)

Noeha is the most gracious host around, its almost exhausting watching her carefully attending to each guest.

4:47 PM

Blogger The Persian said...

Oh my god you so remind me of my Great Aunt in New Jersey when you talk about the Egyptian hostess. She's Persian but the overkill is the same, and I would be like a blimp if I lived closer to her.

8:14 AM

Blogger Jim said...

It all stems from love, PG, and she has a limitless supply for everyone.

8:23 AM

Blogger Sangroncito said...

Sounds like a lot of fun!
Now on to the next holiday......
and "see you" back in Brazil on Thursday.

10:16 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Yes Sangroncito, onward to *really* big commercial holiday :)

Safe journey back to Brazil!

3:22 PM

Blogger Jim said...


11:31 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home