I recently returned from a Thanksgiving celebration in Botfei, a small village about 3 hours North of Lugoj. It was put on by a bunch of volunteers from the surrounding area, and several Romanians were invited, including the village Mayor. He provided us with two cabins located deep in the forest. It was really secluded, and the scenery was pretty, even if it was rainy and overcast most of the time. We stayed two nights, and unfortunately we ran out of water about halfway through the second day. However, we did have electricity, gas and plenty of wood for heating.
A lot of people showed up. Even my Danish buddy Martin came along, and with him came a chef (named Stewie, an old friend of Martin's from Melbourne). Everyone who came made a dish. I brought a green bean casserole with cheddar cheese and cracker-crumb topping (a huge hit) and I also brought some glazed honey-cookies called Turta Dulce (an even bigger hit, some people didn't believe I made them). I also prepared the sweet potatoes with butter, minced ginger and brown sugar (I highly recommend that combination), and I helped to make the apple and pumpkin pies. Someone else made cranberry sauce (which was amazing, especially since cranberries are virtually unheard of in Romania--in fact many Romanians mistakenly translate 'cranberry' as 'blueberry' since they have no equivalent). One of the Romanian guests made a rabbit soup. Of course, we had turkey-- a 15 kilo monster (which was Stewie's responsibility)-- along with stuffing and gravy. Everything was just awesome!
Well, I should say most everything, because besides the water situation, there was one other thing that wasn't so awesome. While I was baking the apple pie, the gas tank ran out. Tragedy! It was almost done, the crust just needed to bake a bit more. In a panic, I ran up to the other cabin (which also had a kitchen) and took the gas tank. I hooked it up in place of the empty tank and tried to relight the oven, but it wouldn't take; perhaps the tank was too cold. So, I just let the pie sit in the residual heat of the oven for another twenty minutes or so, hoping that it'd be enough to finish the job. Luckily, it turned out good enough. Good enough that it lasted no more than a few minutes before it was completely gone. After this fairly successful (even if partly-unsuccessful) experience, I'll definitely continue to experiment with pie-making.
All in all, it was a great holiday, in spite of the fact that I was away from my family. See my pictures HERE