As every year, this year too got invited for thanksgiving celebration at a friends’ house. D and R throw these elaborate, formal, sit down thanksgiving lunch every year, and you may be a perpetually broke, semi-starving ( just added that for some extra drama) bunch of graduate students, but this day you are forced to look and behave your best. And like every year this one was as wonderful and elegant and interesting and warm.
There was lot of good cheer, love and pure unadulterated gluttony (I mean literary unadulterated as D swears by organically grown food and rather die than compromise there). It is also an opportunity to catch up on what’s been going on- personally or professionally or even general matters of the world.
Mr Turkey stuffed, cooked and ready to be eaten. I almost felt sorry for the bird
Your typical American thanksgiving spread-cranberry sauce, lima beans and corn, mashed potatos with gravy and sweet potatoes. The green stuff is the Egyption dish-"Stuffed Grape Leaf".
You can catch a glimpse of my creation at the far end-My signature Chicken tikkas! :)
However, this time for me, the highlight was a presentation/demo by A, who is a budding filmmaker/ environmentalist, on her latest personal project. She wanted to buy a car and after some extensive research, she bought this old model Merc Benz, diesel car and converted it to run on vegetable oil. Yea, you read it right—vegetable oil, that too used!
The yellow, vintage, veggie oil Merc.Benz
I cannot possibly explain all the details on how it is done but the system seems fairly simple as all it requires is a set of three filters and a heating fixture (can’t remb its name) to get the car running.The filters are basically to filter the vegetable oil as they tend to be dirty and the three filtering steps will take care of that. There is one filter which needs to be changed often ( about 2-3 times a month but it costs only $3 and the other two only once in 6-12 months ( costs ~$13)
The insides--you can see one of the big filters in white and the pipes connected to it are the additional fixtures to be incorporated
The oil is made to pass through the heating thingy. This is basically because veg oil tends to be thicker than regular gas and bio-fuels and on passing through the heating fixture it thins the oil. Also, this is important when the weather gets cold and the oil tends to thicken. Anyways, long story short, there is this beautiful, yellow, old model, ex-diesal merc benze running on used vegetable oil. The used veg oil she gets from a friend’s restaurant. This is recycle, reuse and reduce at its best and I am mighty impressed!
(Point to note- this works only on diesel engine cars)
So, as I said earlier, it was an afternoon (extended reasonably late into night) of good cheer, brilliant ideas and unreserved hogging. I mean really, the turkey was not the only one that was stuffed ( although it almost disappeared towards the end). I felt like the turkey by the time it was to leave.
You can guess the fate of Mr Turkey
We were all getting ready to leave when, as always, D and R gave us our Christmas gifts (we always get it early from them as they normally leave town before Christmas. Must add that we mail our presents to them) and as stuffed I was, I thought it was pretty ironic when I found what my present was. Me being my impatient self had to find out what was behind the brightly colored wrap and couldn’t wait to get home before I ripped open to find this interesting book. Its named “Hope’s Edge- The Next Diet for a Small Planet” by F.M Lappe and Anna Lappe ( a mother-daughter team). I skimmed quickly through ~10 pages and it appeared that the authors are attempting to de-mystify the notion that “hunger in this planet is caused by scarcity in nature” and points out that the world is basically divided into two- the over-fed and the under-fed with a screwed up economic (now global) system to blame for. Hmm…sounds interesting so far. But since I am still reading Aslam this one will have to wait. These type of books, how much ever interesting and fascinating the content maybe, do not read like page turning thrillers (speaking about myself here) and it normally takes time. So once Aslam is out of the way maybe I’ll take it up. Actually two fictions that I ordered are one their way so maybe after one of those I might get to the “ food book”. By then finals should be over as well.
To wrap up this early morning verbal diarrhea ( I woke up around 3:30 am, tossed and turned for a while, got my ipod and listened to some music and when even that failed to keep me calm, I decided to type) I must say there are many issues that bother and overwhelm me (and you)- this includes your own issues, of the ones near and dear to you, of your fellow bloggers and non- bloggers, of everything living and breathing on this planet and just about everything under the stars…but somehow when a bunch of us sit around a lovely table with goodness around you, automatically things you are thankful for pours out of you.
So..yes I am thankful as well.. to you and you, to this and that..