Happy Thanksgiving!

Sandy and I think Thanksgiving might be our favorite holiday. It means spending time with family and friends, watching football, and not being ashamed of wearing elastic band pants to the table to ensure maximum eating capacity.

Not wanting this Thanksgiving to pass by uncelebrated, we started planning months and months ago. We extended invitations to friends and booked our favorite house on the lake. In the end, out of 17 people, there were only four Americans. Jen, from Vermont, Sandy and I took over most of the cooking, which resulted in an infusion of Southern Thanksgiving traditions (there were, for example, three separate sweet potato dishes.)

The big issue was the turkey. In Malawi, there are chickens everywhere, and I mean everywhere, but very few turkeys. A few months ago, Jen made a plea at her staff meeting for turkeys. Two were located at a small farm over an hour from Blantyre. Her colleague arranged to get the turkeys and keep them at his place until last week. The colleague also generously offered to kill and dress the turkeys for her. Thank goodness. So in the end, we had two very fresh, organic, free range turkeys at our table.

Jen and one of the turkeys

I am not known for my culinary skills. Eating, yes, but actually cooking – not so much. But, by some Thanksgiving miracle (and Sandy’s close supervision) my dishes came out fine and everyone approved.

My creamed spinach!

Finalizing dinner

The rest of the dishes were traditional: mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, green bean casserole, wild rice, sweet potato casserole, savory thyme sweet potatoes, two types of stuffing, sherry gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls, etc. And that was just the dinner. Perhaps even more exciting was the dessert: apple cinnamon cheesecake, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato pie. The two chefs who work at the house helped out so much – they seemed fascinated by the strange spread of dishes, but also seemed to enjoy everything.

American stuffing

The rest of the weekend was spent swimming in the lake, drinking gin and tonics on the beach, playing football, and relaxing. While very fun, it was strange to be celebrating Thanksgiving in the tropical 90 degree heat.


All of the non-Americans were great sports. They tried every dish and gave the appropriate “mmmm!” sounds. They even participated when we all went around and said what we were thankful for…

This Thanksgiving, we are thankful to have such amazing friends in Malawi to share the holiday, so thankful for wonderful friends and family back home who continually love and support us, and thankful to be in this beautiful county, surrounded by the warmest, friendliest people in Africa! Much love to all of our family and friends – we miss you and wish you a very very Happy Thanksgiving!


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8 responses to “Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. Ginny

    Great post and pictures! I also enjoyed Clem’s photos on facebook. Sounds like an awesome weekend and a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving. We miss you around here. Our table will definitely be empty this year and we will miss your purty faces! Let’s skype for sure!!! XO

  2. margaret

    I am serving Kate’s favorite dish (can shaped cranberry) in your honor. We will miss you both!!!

  3. Barb

    How wonderful that you kept up Thanksgiving traditions so far away from home and we are indeed thankful that you put a southern spin on it! As we all sit around the table Thursday we will surely give thanks for the two of you and for your excellent blog and for keeping us informed…….Glad you were able to share our traditions with those that are not from this country. Good job and we miss you so.

  4. Robin

    Hey you two!!! What a wonderful update on your Thanksgiving holiday! I hope ours can come close to being so thoughtfully prepared and enjoyed! We miss you both so much, and enjoy every post!
    Much much love to you and your friends in Malawi!

  5. Arline Taylor

    Your Thanksgiving sounded wonderful. Thanks for sharing it with me. We miss you but I am so proud of you and how you have loved and helped so many over there. Hope we can be together next year. I love you – always, Marnine

  6. Dotty DeCardy

    It was wonderful hearing of your search for a turkey and how that came about so that you could actually eat turkey instead of chicken.

    It was also seeing pictures of everyone, especially your friends in Malawi.

    I enjoy hearing of your adventures.

  7. Taameem

    Hi Kate,

    Happy Thanksgiving, we miss you… Myat said that your name is now famous… more than before .. I miss you so much… Happy Thanksgiving from your Iraqi sister..Bests

  8. mary and ron

    Sandy and Kate, Can’t let Thanksgiving weekend end without letting you know how much we were thinking about you. So glad you found two turkeys and had a feast of your own. Happy almost December! Love, Mary and Ron.

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