In a few hours we’ll pick our son up from school in time for our Thanksgiving meal. When Pape woke up today, he was so excited to celebrate ‘the American holiday!’ they’ve been learning about at school, but disappointed to find out that we will not be killing a fatted ram. Bummer, I know. But we will be celebrating in true Dakar fashion…

1. The cream of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole was made with butter, flour, powdered milk, water and frozen mushrooms I went to four stores to find. 

2. The deviled eggs have finely chopped cornichons pickles + pinch of sugar instead of pickle relish, which I forgot to buy at the American Food Store. 

3. The tablecloth is handpainted batik, decorated with faux autumn leaves that my friend’s mom brought me from the US. 

4. The fried onions were obtained by exchange with my friend Valerie. I traded her a can of Libby’s pumpkin and the trade was carried out by a taxi driver who was making the four-hour drive from Saint-Louis to Dakar. 

5. The Kirene water is chilling in the fridge, right next to the bissap (hibiscus) drink. 

6. Shady Shack hummus with pita bread is one of our sides. Our own tradition since 2011. 

7. Our ‘turkey’ is two smoked chickens. 

8. The pumpkin cheesecake was made with homemade cream cheese, a five-day process requiring a pot of yogurt, a pound of powdered milk and a cheesecloth for straining. 

9. The coffee is… Nevermind. Some things you just can’t change. It’s the good, imported stuff. 

Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends, near and far. Whether your day is Dakarified, KCfied, Jerseyfied, Parisfié… may we all be thankful for every gift God has given.