I know it's been a bit quiet from this side of the world for a little while, but by way of meagre excuse, I'm going to place the blame squarely on the Prime Minister of Australia. And for once, I am entirely justified in doing so.
My office has been handling the postal and pre-poll voting for the Australian federal election and even though I had never done it before, I found the project to be really interesting. It was an exhausting time, with long days, late nights, and a lot of concentration required to check and double-check the numbers of votes cast. Now I know how Santa feels, when he makes his list and checks it twice. It's a big job.
So on Monday we need to send the last of the votes back to Australia and then the project is over for another three years. And we all play the waiting game to see what happens at home. Maybe the fate of the nation really does rest in the hands of an Aussie voter from the US Midwest. Time will tell.
It was probably timely that the election project finished this week, because the hard work culminated in a day of decadence yesterday for Thanksgiving. It's the quintissential American holiday, and I was really pleased to be invited to Bork's house for the complete traditional experience.
Bork confessed to me that she's not much of a cook, but she was going to really try to get the meal just right. I believed her when she said this of course, so I went along without any expectations that the food would be delicious. Now I realise that she was just being modest (or outright lying) because the meal was TO DIE FOR. The turkey was tender and juicy, and the side dishes were amazing. For the first time, I tried all the authentic American Thanksgiving dishes: green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with cinnamon and marshmallows, creamy buttery mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce with citrus, stuffing with raisins and apples - ooh I am almost drooling at the memory of it all.
So while Bork held up her end of the bargain, I feel like I may have let the side down a little. I was supposed to bring dessert and I'd talked up the idea of the great Aussie pavlova. I mean, why not inject a bit of my own culture into the US event (plus I really don't like pumpkin pie, and I have to draw the line somewhere). But when it came down to it, I realised that I should have taken more time out of my week to rehearse the recipe. I got myself into quite a flap at the idea of whipping so many egg whites and then sculpting them into the cake shape ready for baking. It all just seemed a bit too much like a delicate science. So I chickened out and instead, I bought a ready-made chocolate bunt cake from the bakery, whipped my own heavy cream (and did not make butter out of it), and topped it all with sliced strawberries that I mascerated with balsamic vinegar & sugar. So you see, I did actually have to prepare some of the dish myself. And the gang at dinner DID appreciate that.
And now it's the day after Turkey Day, and everyone is still sleeping off the overindulgence. I am up early because the neighbours are going at it like the screaming nymphomaniacs they are. And in the spirit of the holiday, it appears my neighbour's girlfriend is very VERY thankful....