I hadn't had an American Thanksgiving in two years. Last year in Munich, I succeeded in putting on a pretty decent dinner, turkey and all. Sure, I mucked up the gravy, but everything else was good, and I introduced some Germans to the wonders of stuffing. Easily one of the more grown-up and adult accomplishments of my life to date. Much more preferable, however, to throw it all out the window and down the drain and revert wonderfully to childhood where my mother cooks fiendishly and won't let anyone step in the kitchen. (I've extracted a promise that I'll be allowed to help out next year). I got fed endlessly for four days and was reminded of all I loathe and dread about the suburbs. At about 11pm, with my dad in the living room watching Fox, the dog snoring on the floor, the rest of the house in bed and me lying on the couch in the front room, reading a novel and day-dreaming with the other half of my brain I thought this could have happened a decade ago. And did.
Still, it's not all housing developments and quiet desperation. On Saturday I went for an outing with my Mom; we started at Snow's Citrus Court, a small family orchard in Newcastle (a neighboring suburb to the one I was raised in, Orangevale, no longer a vale particularly noted for its oranges) where we bought Satsuma mandarins and some mandarin-based marinades.
Then, we went for a stroll through some recently reclaimed open space.
We ended with wine tasting at Mt. Vernon Winery, which had been wildly successful (especially relative to it size) at the most recent California State Fair, and makes, among other whimsical blends, a "Girly Man" Syrah. I'm not a fan of the governator but it's a tasty red. You can keep your Napa and your Sonoma. At the little wineries in Placer and Amador counties, tasting is free and refreshingly devoid of snobbery.
I returned to my apartment to find my housemate John making pizzas from scratch. I know, you're sick of hearing it: I love my home.