Nov 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

The year has gone by fast, fast, fast. Last November at this time, I was on the countdown for my first visit to Africa; it seems like yesterday. Now we are 40 days away from the end of the year.   

Our family dinning room table  in Panama 

Last night I had pictures in my head of Thanksgiving celebrations when my Mom was alive; she made the most amazing stuffing ever, not equaled by anyone, anywhere, except my sister, Ana.  

This year Ana and Parker were supposed to be in Buenos Aires for Thanksgiving, Ana had "surprise" back surgery in September, she is at home in Florida today making the amazing JoAnn Arosemena stuffing, I asked if she could put some in the freezer, she said NO.  When I visit in December we will make a batch just for me.  The ingredients, a big dash of love mixed with finely chopped apples, celery, onions, parsley, water chestnuts, sage sausage, raisins and capers all mixed with the bread stuffing. It is a meal in itself.  Ana thanks for carrying on the tradition for so many years, thanks for hosting Thanksgiving - thanks thanks thanks. Mom is smiling in Heaven ! 

Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday of the year. Thanksgiving is about two of my favorite things in the world, appreciating life, love, family, friends, and all our blessings and secondly, food.  

Tobias, Elena, Carlos, Ana, Rogelio III 

I am making no excuses about my love of food and all the emotions and memories I have because of the incredible chefs that have been part of my life; my Grandma Arosemena leading the way for all to follow. I am thankful this year as I am thankful everyday for my wonderful family, my siblings, Ana, Rogelio III, Carlos and Tobias.  I thank God daily for their presence in my life, for the love and care, for the laughs, for their guidance, for their support.  I am blessed to have such great brothers and such a wonderful sister, all who can stand tall in their respective kitchens. In addition to the Thanksgiving stuffing, here are some of my favorite memories: 

Roger, who lives in Panama with is wife Maria Elena, and their children, prepared a most memorable meal that we all enjoyed when we arrived home from our family cruise in January of 2010. It was a simple dinner but oh so so delicious, fresh lobster from the Panama fish market, grilled to perfection, served with my most favorite food of all time, coconut rice.  And this is coconut rice made with coconut milk from the fruit, never from the can.  It was one of those evenings  where everyone was in and out of the kitchen, enjoying the preparation, the cooking and then sitting down at a beautiful table with a wonderful view of the Bay of Panama, enjoying the delicious food and the company of our family. 

Lobster we had at Roger and Mari's in Panama 

Carlos, he is the most accomplished chef in the family having graduated from the California Culinary Academy, he also worked at Ernie's in SFO and Le Hermitage in Los Angeles. I've had incredible dinners at his house along with his wife, Michele, however my all time favorite, his classic, delicate, fluffy, hit the mark every time Banana Pancakes.  He is also responsible for my daily cappuccino fix. When I first worked in Atlanta in 1996, I lived with Carlos and Michele for a few months, and every morning before work he made us wonderful cappuccinos with Cafe Duran from Panama, since then I've been hooked.  

Tobias, who is our baby brother, and lives in north San Diego County, we had a every Wednesday night dinner tradition, California Fish Tacos. Toby makes the best cole slaw which is the key ingredient of a great fish taco.  I looked forward to every Wednesday night, a simple dinner, with wonderful flavors, textures, cheese, salsa, fresh corn tortillas, fish, HMMMM delicious. This week he visited with us for 3 days, he was on his way to Panama for vacation, he introduced me to a blend of tea from Teavana, Chai Oolong & Samurai Chai Mate tea; it is divine. I am actually headed downstairs to the kitchen to make a cup right now. 

Arosemena Family -  1972 

Happy Thanksgiving to all and God Bless our Troops