I was a lot more pumped last year, and more let down, too. This year felt a bit more like I was flying by the seat of my pants, and the whole thing went off great.
For reference, here are some photos from last year:
One of the most important being:
This year, our cooking team was about half of last year's, probably due to the paranoia of repeating last year's special brand of chaos. We also got into the cooking area at 9am instead of 1pm, which helped everyone's blood pressure a lot.
Last year, I invited a whole bunch of people, then didn't get to spend any time with any of them because by the time we were done bringing the food out, it was time for us to eat, then dessert, then it was time to clean up (and cleaning up took about six years, although we had to be out of the hall at 10pm). This time, we were able to clean as we went along, so wrap-up was a piece of cake. We actually had some time where we were just sitting around waiting for our food to finish cooking and our guests to come.
This time, I invited a lot less, and of them, only a few showed up. I ended up sitting with my JTE and his family and having a very pleasant time talking to them.
We had games this time, too, which split up the feast time nicely.
Last year, I made pumpkin pie from a recipe I snagged at the Centro (one of the professor's there sent it to me upon request). It was amazingly delicious, but there were a ton of leftovers. Shiso enjoyed tupperwares full of my "pumpkin shit" for several days afterward.
Foolishly I assumed the same would be true of my sweet-potato souffle. Which I do believe I did as well as could be expected.. we didn't have mini marshmallows so I cut up some big ones. Yeah. Be thankful:
At the last minute (seriously, I didn't think we had the canned soup, so I nixed the idea of doing it until I got there and saw we had soup) I added green bean casserole, Campbell's regular recipe (mostly) to our menu.
So here's how that panned out:
Also, two people asked me for the sweet potato recipe, and one for the green bean recipe. I guess we'd call it a win. I still don't see how less people gave us less leftovers, but there you are.
I'm thankful for a whole boatload of things, and even though I spent all week missing my family and the US, I'm grateful too that Shiso Thanksgiving was such a good time for all.