My wife has invited friends and family with American connections round on the Sunday following Thanksgiving
My wife calls me from outside a butchers shop to shout at me for being American. This is your stupid holiday, she says.
This was your stupid idea, I say. And anyway, Thanksgiving was yesterday.
My wifes idea to invite friends and family with American connections round on the Sunday following Thanksgiving means that there are no turkeys left in London, apart from the one they are presently holding to ransom in the butchers shop she is outside.
Im sure the price has gone up while Ive been standing here, she says.
Just get it, and well never do this again, I say.
In the 25 years Ive lived in the UK weve celebrated Thanksgiving perhaps three times, and it has never come off well. On this occasion weve invited more people than we have chairs.
My wife comes home with several bags of shopping. In one I find two small pumpkins.
What are these for? I say.
Your stupid pumpkin pie, she says.
I wrote tinned pumpkins on the list, I say.
They didnt have any, she says. Where do you think you live?
I stare at the pumpkins. They have stickers on them that say edible. It strikes me this is not much of a claim to make on behalf of your produce. I know that theoretically a pie may be derived from these pumpkins, but the task seems monumental like making marshmallows from a marsh full of mallow. I dont even like pumpkin pie.
My wife is jamming four enormous stalks into a narrow vase. Something about it looks wrong.
What are those? I say.
Amaryllises, she says. Pretty.
Theyre huge, I say.
Early Sunday morning I begin the process of turning pumpkins into pie. I look up a recipe and discover that we have precisely none of the other ingredients. I cut open the pumpkins and scoop out the guts and seeds.
Behind me there is an enormous thud, followed by a splash. My feet leave the floor, and the cat runs from the room.
Something terrible has happened, I tell my wife, who is still in bed.
What? she says, opening one eye.
Your amaryllises have been sucking up water all night, through the force of capillary action. At a precise point they became top heavy enough to crash to the floor, vase, water, everything. Ruined.
You love telling me bad news, dont you?
You should have seen this coming, I say.
I lose an hour making tiny surgical collars out of cardboard for my wifes broken-necked flowers. Then I go to the shop to buy everything else I need. When I return the house smells of burning pumpkin. I go upstairs to wake the youngest one.
Get up, I say. Its Fake Thanksgiving.
What is that smell? he says.
Pumpkins roasting, I say. Doesnt it smell edible?
An hour later I am contemplating my assembled pumpkin pie. The filling is the colour of loft insulation.
Are you sure about that? my wife says.
I think baking will help, I say.
It is possible, I discover, to both undercook and overcook the same pumpkin pie. After an hour it still isnt done. I try to protect the scorching top with different configurations of foil, and as a result I have burn marks on my knuckles. Eventually I surrender.
It may not be done, I say. But at least its over. The top of the pie is now the colour of fire-damaged leather.
When do I serve that thing? my wife says.
At the end, I say. My wife looks at the pie.
Are you telling me thats a pudding? she says.
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