It’s cold enough here to be the end of November, and since the teachers at the school had been asking me to make some American or Belgian food, I decided we would throw a pre-Diwali Thanksgiving. Diwali is in less than two weeks, and at that time the school will take a 10 day break, and I will be moving on. So yesterday we celebrated a bit early.
To begin the day (Sunday is the only day without classes) I took a morning hike with a chemistry teacher to a reserve for some of the most adorable creatures on the planet: musk deer. The reserve only holds 17 deer, and they are pretty thoroughly caged in, as well as having small huts they are locked into at night, because tigers can break in through the fences. They do not allow pictures at the reserve, but I took some pictures along the hike. Hopefully I can get some pictures of these sickeningly cute little things in the wild when I’m further north. On the walk back to the school, we encountered a huge group of monkeys, mothers with babies and at least 20 frantically swinging between trees. Of course, at this moment, my camera battery died, but I got one picture of some sitting near the road. The hike was steeply uphill on the way there, and I sure felt how out of shape I’ve gotten. Not being able to run and get regular exercise has taken a noticeable toll on my strength.
After the hike, and after a quick nap to recover, I got started on dinner. The original plan was to roast hens over an open pit fire in place of a turkey, but as it turns out there weren’t any hens either (there were hens, but I would have had to slaughter them… so there weren’t any hens). It was no worry for me – as a vegetarian I wasn’t going to eat it anyway – but someone proposed cooking a goat instead, since the meat was already there. After quickly stamping out that idea, we decided on an American-Belgian-Indian fusion menu, and to keep things simple I made a ‘Thanksgiving’ hash out of the available vegetables and spices. To include some real Thanksgiving food with a Belgian twist, I made mashed potatoes according to the recipe I had learned in Belgium. The usual cooks made the roti and rice.
Here are pictures from the hike and the pre-Diwali Thanksgiving dinner preparation:
As a side note, I’m probably 85% composed of chai now.