As I was searching the internet today for some new Pumpkin Pie recipes, getting ready for my American Thanksgiving. It got me thinking. Isn’t it weird that I celebrate two Thanksgivings a year? One as a Canadian and one as an American ( giving that most of my life I grew up in the USA ) while living in Egypt? I’ve always been proud to be an Egyptian. Canadian. American. All of it. I feel I’m one giant melting pot most of the time.
I went to the grocery store last night with my daughter and she was like “Mommy why are you buying such a large Chicken?” I informed her it wasn’t a large chicken and it was a turkey for Thanksgiving. Her eyes lit up and said “like Charlie Brown?” I said yes we will have a Thanksgiving like Charlie Brown. You could see her brain working, “What about the Pumpkin Pie? You didn’t make one last Thanksgiving, you made Lemon Meringue Pie” ( last Thanksgiving being the Canadian one we celebrated in October, less then a month ago ) So note to self, must make Pumpkin Pie.
My whole life I basically wore my Egyptian flag as I traveled this world of ours. I never even lived in Egypt until I got married and my husband had a good opportunity here. I grew up being the only Egyptian around, and everyone knew me as that crazy Egyptian Canadian girl. I love my Egyptian traditions and I love my western traditions. I think thats what makes me who I am. These are examples of societies evolving right before our eyes. I feel our generation is different, in so many ways. Not just because of Twitter-land. Because we all are a little from everywhere.
Some traditions or customs just vanish over time. This totally saddens me! So I make sure every year my traditions for my family continues and always try to add new ones into the mix. One of the things I loved dearly is the base of Egyptian life. Food. Growing up for me, was all about food and meal time. The amount of hours I spent in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother are irreplaceable cherished memories for me. Every meal was always prepared with love and care. It makes me sad to see many ladies today forget all the traditions of the kitchens and the local food. Maybe because of a lack of time they start to rely on pre-packaged ingredients and fast food. It is really very sad because traditional foods and customs have a beauty to Egyptian families for years. It fills a desire that goes beyond just eating.
For example, Eid Cookies, we all know those, KAHK. We used to spend days with friends and families preparing these cherished cookies. It was an extremely elaborate process, making the dough with genuine clarified butter, making the fillings of cooked date paste. The individual cookies themselves were decorated with a light dusting of powdered sugar. How my grandma made them year after year was a cherished tradition for me. It was never just a tray or two, but a huge elaborate affair, meant to share with anyone we ran into. As far as I can remember KAHK was never sold in dessert shops until fairly recently, when certain enterprising ladies started making it at home and selling it to people, then the shops and bakeries caught on, and it became a thing to be bought and not made at home …just easier!
So back to getting ready for Thanksgiving in Egypt. Is it wrong? Am I confusing my kids? I don’t think so. I enjoy sharing whatever traditions I grew up with my kids. I find Thanksgiving beautiful. GIVE THANKS. How is that not a universal message. I enjoy sharing a piece of the world with them. If it is in their destiny to end elsewhere, be it North America, how exciting would it be for them when they realize, hey we used to celebrate Thanksgiving too, and maybe remind them of home!