When you live halfway across the world from your family, traditions become extra important because you become so much more nostalgic about your loved ones and the time you spend together. (Honestly, you love your family so much more the farther away you are and the less you see them!).
But Thanksgiving has been an Epstein family tradition since I was in junior high school and each year the number of traditions grows. It’s really helpful that Florian isn’t American or we might have had to argue about with whose family we should eat. Luckily, it works out nicely that his family gets Christmas (like my Jewish parents would protest – and demand I come home to eat Chinese food and go to the movies??). Here’s a rundown of our annual Turkey Day schedule:
Everyone meets in NYC for dinner and to see a Broadway show. One person buys the tickets every year and we alternate whose turn. The cool part about being the person that pays is that you get to pick the show. The uncool part about being the person who pays is that you have to pay. We do see shows like Pee Wee Herman, Spamalot, and Cirque du Soleil.
We cook, and cook, and then cook some more. Cooking is always interesting around our house. You have to know my family to love them and by now you should know all about them!
- My brother Mike and sister-in-law Sophia are vegan (remember them from their awesome band and their awesome new movie??).
- My sister Elana and her husband Justin want everything organic, locally-sourced, and uber-healthy (remember them from having the most adorable baby on earth?).
- My sister Rachel wants no preservatives or transfats and her husband John is so lactose-intolerant that he is basically a vegan meat-eater (ie, no butter on that turkey!). (remember their whole engagement/wedding story from Rachel’s book??)
- My parents want a traditional Thanksgiving with a big juicy turkey and apple pie for dessert (remember how adorable they are when they give me a curfew?
- Florian and I just want to eat and be able to add a little bit of real salt and real sugar to our food.
Thursday Around 4pm:
We feast! Some nontraditional favorites of ours include vegan veggie lasagna, mashed cauliflower (instead of mashed potatoes), and Sophia’s world-famous vegan cupcakes. Yum. Normally my dad starts eating his food before everyone has even filled their plates, my mom is always putzing around the kitchen as we yell to her to come and eat, and my brother is usually mocking me because I want to say what I’m thankful for that year. Then we all gobble our food in silence. After eating my mom always brings us goody bags full of more food to eat later (homemade chocolates, Pirate’s Booty puffs, nuts, figs, etc). She also gives us our Chankukkah presents which can include random and hilarious items such as these:
Now that the eating has been completed, we look at the Black Friday Flyers and start planning our routes for the next day. Yep, we are insane Black Friday shoppers and even have matching T-shirts we wear. We used to play Trivial Pursuit and obviously we banned my dad from playing because he’s an annoying know-it-all.
Friday Morning, approximately 4:30am:
We trudge to whatever store is giving out the best deal. The last 4 years or so we’ve gone to Sports Authority because they always give a scratcher with at least $10 but up to $500 (Rach won $100 last year!). From there it’s the mall, then Kohl’s, then home for a break (by then it’s normally around 2pm) and we rejuvenate by eating leftovers and showing off our buys to the men who stayed home. Then it’s back out to drug stores or craft stores or whatever remaining stores that are less important. We usually take a picture of the best deal of the day.
After a quick nap, the children usually eat a non-leftovers dinner together. We do Indian a lot because it’s vegan and it’s basically the only food on which we all agree!
That’s it, folks. Thanksgiving is officially over for the Epsteins and some go home or meet up with old friends. We’re all still munching on leftovers the entire day.
I figured I’d give you the overview of our traditions, and then in the next post I’ll show you Thanksgiving 2012 pics. I’m mainly just stalling because my mom took most of the pics this year on her camera and has’t quite yet learned how to upload them to a photo-sharing site, so this may be a while.