early thanksgiving, & on international tastebuds

So... we pulled it off, many thanks to my beautiful cousin C who flew in from London to spend her Saturday slaving away over the stove and sink. There was a bit of a cultural miscommunication - I scheduled the meal for 2, by which I meant I was hoping to have it ready for 4, but of course all the Germans took that to mean that the meal would be on the table at 2 pm sharp which was most certainly not the case.

But this was my second Thanksgiving hosted in a foreign country (although last year, the Brazilians all arrived punctually late-ish), and what is most interesting to me is which flavors seemed to appeal to each group the most. Last year, the Brazilians went batsh*t - batsh*t - for the pumpkin pie, which was unexpected as pumpkin, much less cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger-clove pumpkin, is not terribly common in Brazilian cuisine. Here, however, the pumpkin pie was graciously accepted but quietly left uneaten on several plates - curious when you consider how much pumpkin is floating around in Germans' soups - but the stuffing was a huuuuuge hit, as was the apple pie.* In Argentina on varying occasions I have attempted both carrot cake and gingerbread and both were rebuffed. The one time I brought a (Swiss) friend along to Thailand with me, he adored all the savory food but just couldn't seem to wrap his tongue around the desserts.

I guess all I'm saying is, it's interesting how the flavors we grow up with shape our tastes. If you think about a bit deeper it probably really applies to everything about our cultures. Tastebuds are just closer to the surface. But in honor of Thanksgiving, I guess I should mention how thankful I am to have been able to experience so many flavors and people and places.

P.S. Everything else was eaten before I got the chance to take pictures, but... turkey, right?!
P.P.S. I would be interested to discover what new flavors any of you may have encountered along your travels and which you found both most delightful and most offensive.

*even though it couldn't hold a candle to my dad's.

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