It had been three years since I'd put real turkey in my mouth; sure, the program through which I ended up in Germany threw a Thanksgiving party each of the last two years and the Americans brought dishes to pass, including pumpkin pie that met my standards. But the turkey was frighteningly over-cooked and soggy and as this year it was to be in the distant 'burbs of Dahlem. So when D. presented an alternative planned for Tuesday, I happily signed on, as it was catered by Fortuna, an American cook, in her new space. It's a bit like a speakeasy for food, strangely enough very close to where I lived during on Weserstr. last February/March. I brown-bagged the left-overs from that huge plate of food and just polished them off, on actual T-day.
Food can be so evocative, really, and the Brits around me noticed me getting teary-eyed; it wasn't the first or second or even third bite -- those were dedicated to savoring and evaluating. It was really great turkey and I, no fan of gravy, actually liked hers very much. But it must have been the fourth or fifth bite when I found myself back in the house where I lived with my ex, Bob's house, with Bob right above, just on the Berkeley/No. Oakland border. And C. and J. were there, and M. and J., and I even think J. had come up from LA, and my ex and I were cooking up a storm and the turkey had been brined perfectly and my rolls were great, and oh, the pumpkin pie, oh my, and Hugo had just come to us, in his 4-month-old hellion incarnation, and made us all fall in love, and even though my job was quickly going to hell (I still didn't know it) and my relationship too (I still didn't know it) and there was the stress of all those undercurrents, still, with a house full of people dear to me and food and wine and music and laughter, well, that was home: that music, that laughter, those rituals that happen every year. So thanks, Fortuna, for your great food, and thanks, D. for the invitation.