Celebrating Thanksgiving in Israel

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 Last year’s Thanksgiving guests squeezed around our table.  Sometimes a big crowd in a small space makes it seem all that much more festive.  

Even though John (read his blog) and I are living in Israel, we definitely don’t consider ourselves “expatriates”.  As soon as John is finished with his medical education, we will be coming back home and we still feel every day that the United States is home.

Last year Thanksgiving was our first major holiday away from family and a lot of our friends were in the same situation, so we squeezed about 14 people into our tiny apartment and tried to make everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving treats.  John’s is sweet potato casserole and I could only find strawberry marshmallows.  Gross!  My sister said our pictures looked just like every expat Thanksgiving she’d ever seen, complete with old wine bottles as candleholders and plastic wine glasses.

Just keep folding, just keep folding . . . it will take a while, but the more you do, the bigger your bowl will be

Part of that “expat” look I think comes from the fact that we really don’t have all the household goods we would have if we were at home in the U.S.  We have a hodge podge of dishes given to us by generous friends, paper tablecloths, and plastic silverware. We’re making do with what we have because we are only here temporarily.   So one of the ways I try to make it feel like we have all the things I have in storage at home, without going out and buying all kinds of house wares, is to make useful crafts and decorations.

This bowl is an easy upcycle and I’m sure there are a dozen other tutorials out there for the same thing, but this is my bright yellow take on it.  It is pretty time consuming, but easy to do, especially if you have an extra pair of hands like a friend or an older kid.

The blue stripe on my bowl is from four or five pieces of blue paper. Keep your like colors together to make big color blocked stripes.

Step 1:  You need a lot of paper!  I used all of Johns discarded notes and handouts from last year’s courses.  Any kind of paper will work, so use magazines, newspaper, or printer paper, but please, recycle!  Cut your paper into fourths lengthwise either using a paper cutter, or just folding and tearing along the edge of a book or table.  You should end up with four long strips per page and you will need dozens and dozens of these, so keep it up.

Step 2:  Fold each strip in half and then fold the sides into the middle.  For regular typing paper, this should make your final strip about half an inch wide.  Run your fingernail, coin, or folding tool along the edges so they are nice and smooth.

Step 3:  Make a rope out of your paper strips using regular tape to connect the individual pieces.  Then, carefully coil your rope around and around and around, making a half inch thick plate.  Keep that coil has tight as you possibly can.

OK, so those are store bought hot dog buns, but I promise fresh rolls on Thanksgiving day.

When it is as big as you want, (or you get tired of this project and just want it to be over) gently push in the center of the coil little by little, using your thumbs as if you were making a bowl out of clay.

Step 4:  Using regular glue, a little water, and a paintbrush, seal your bowl and let it dry overnight.  I wanted to add color to my bowl, so I boiled some turmeric powder and added the resulting yellow dye to my glue.  The turmeric powder in the mixture gave my bowl a textured look.

Step 5:  Make these delicious rolls, line your bowl with a cloth or napkin, and fill it up!

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