Since I live in New York, my family's in Colorado and I'd no sooner travel for Thanksgiving than I’d flap my arms and fly to the moon, Thanksgiving for me is a crap shoot. This year I thought I was actually going to spend it alone, giving me the opportunity to do something with the pre-cooked frozen goose that Jim Schiltz sent me. But then I got two last-minute invitations and elected once again to spend it with the family of my boss, Pam Parseghian. It was my third or fourth Thanksgiving with the delightful Parseghian clan. Two things amaze me about them:
1) The kids are among the coolest I've ever met — well behaved and helpful without being mealy-mouthed little wimps.
2) They can eat more than any regular-sized people I've ever met.
As you might be able to tell from her surname, Pam's Armenian. So is pretty much everyone in her family. Their Thanksgiving is pretty mainstream American, except that rice pilaff is served instead of mashed potatoes — although Pam's brother Steve's half-German kids apparently insisted on mashed potatoes, too, this year, so we had that too.
But being a Middle Eastern food event, the actual meal is preceded by two to three hours of mezze, during which time stuffed grape leaves called yalanchi, savory pastries called buddag, a thinly sliced cured beef called pastermah (I'm guessing that name's related to pastrami), babaghanoush, and assorted chips, dips, pretzels, nuts and seemingly anything else on hand is laid out for everyone to snack on while they chat.
So I'm always full by the time the Thanksgiving meal starts.
After the meal people repose briefly and then eat two or three pieces of pie each. It's truly amazing.
I mean, I often terrify myself by how much I can eat, but these guys are real pros.