Last week we hosted a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner at our house in Tromsø. It all started about two weeks before Thanksgiving, when we were stepping into every grocery store near us searching for kalkun (‘turkey’). After days of asking around, one of our last hopes was the large COOP grocery store in the Jekta Shopping Center. Once in there, we found it easily because I heard a group of people screaming enthusiastically in English: “Here is the turkey!” which without a question had to be other Americans shopping for the traditional occasion, I immediately thought. As soon as I approached the turkey stand, I quickly discovered that these people were my fellow Fulbrighter Onni Irish (who is also conducting research in Tromsø for 9 months) and her friends – another proof that Tromsø is a small town. As a separate note, Onni also loves playing basketball, so as soon as I mentioned to her that I had joined a basketball team (there are only two female bball teams in Tromsø – soccer and handball are far more popular here) she did not hesitate to join as well, which has been great. But I will write about bball some other time.
A couple of days before Thanksgiving, we were very happy to receive my uncle Horacio (best known among the Ferriz as “Pibi”, or “Bibi” as Evan calls him) who came to visit us from California, and who happily agreed to take up on important cooking tasks for our Thanksgiving fest. We all had important tasks for the big day: Greg focused on the cranberry sauce, the pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes, a green beans dish and the salmon appetizers (there had to be a Norwegian something into our Thanksgiving of course!), my uncle focused on the turkey (see picture above), gravy and a bacalao a la vizcaína dish made with excellent Norwegian fish. I made the stuffing and an apple crisp. Evan helped swipe the floors – mind you, he spreads the dirt all over, and when he considers he is finished, he lifts the carpet and swipes the dirt right under it… where on earth did he learn to do that?!
Our guests made our Thanksgiving a very international one: Norway, Netherlands, Russia, Finland, and of course Mexico and USA were all happily represented. Drs. Laura de Steur and Frank Nilsen – my hosts researchers in Tromsø and Longyearbyen, respectively – were here, along with my friends and colleagues Drs. Mats Granskog, Alexey Pavlov and Anna Silyakova, as well as Alexey and Anna’s little son Fyodor, and our downstairs neighbor Haeika Somby joined us too. With my uncle holding a PhD as well, I thought for a second the greetings would turn into the scene of the 1985 American movie Spies like us (click here to watch the silly scene in this 22-second youtube clip). Anyway, we were very fortunate to have wonderful friends and colleagues joining us for this celebration, and also fortunate that they are all not only outstanding scientists (the picture above will likely make me famous one day), but also great eaters. We all filled up their bellies as tradition appears to mandate, with the ice cream at the end filling up any remaining cracks. Needless to say, we were very happy to share this American tradition in Tromsø.