How to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Costa Rica

By Christie Vogt

For most of us at Abriendo AM'ers serving up Thanksgiving mealMentes, the fourth Thursday of November tends to be a crisp day when you might be running to the store with a scarf around your neck—not strolling in flip flops past palm trees and monkeys. Although the environment may be nontraditional and the majority of AM volunteers are far from their families, we came together as one big AM familia to create a massive Thanksgiving feast, complete with turkey and football (albeit the commentary was dubbed in Spanish; who knew Joe Buck spoke español?).

With nearly thirty guests, we were very fortunate that Kathie and David Crockett, friends and supporters of AM, graciously offered their home for us to cook and dine in. We decided to do a pot luck style meal so volunteers could show off their cooking skills (or bring drinks and cutlery, if lacking in that skill-set), and we could taste traditions from different backgrounds. For some, homemade macaroni and cheese was an essential dish—for others, sweet potato pie.

AM's Project Director Lindsay cuts the turkeyOn Thanksgiving Eve (because that’s how promptly things happen in Costa Rica) we made a trip to Tamarindo’s American-style grocery store Auto Mercado to purchase the turkeys and other supplies. Can you get cranberry sauce in Costa Rica? Yes, but not the night before Thanksgiving. What about cornbread ingredients? Possibly, but we were out of luck in securing cornmeal. No worries—it turns out that made-from-scratch cranberry sauce is way better than from a can, and we had enough stuffing, pies, and cookies to help make up for the loss of cornbread.

Will the turkeys defrost in time? Will we have enough food for everyone? Yes and yes. In fact, we probably could have invited another 20 people over to enjoy the massive spread. The Crockett’s home comes complete with a gorgeous pool, but several of us worried we might sink to the bottom with all the pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes piled in our stomachs. Whether in the water or on the sidelines, we were all able to enjoy this incredible view:

Sunset view of Pacific

Back inside we wrote down on paper leaves what we were thankful for and then passed them around to read aloud and guess who wrote which one. There were the classics of family and friends and the Costa Rican novelties of surfboards and gallo pinto. In addition to our loved ones and the perks of living in paradise, we are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this organization and community. Thanks to all of you who help make it possible!

AM team in the kitchen on Thanksgiving

AM students with turkey crafts

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3 Responses to How to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Costa Rica

  1. Laura Adams says:

    Ahh,…very sweet posting. Your feast sounded wonderful, the group picture of all of you and the water view is great,….
    but my favorite thing was the picture of the children posing with their paper turkeys. I recognize the empty toilet paper rolls. (ha!) What PRECIOUS children,…

  2. Deborah Hearn says:

    I am so impressed by all of the delicious looking home made dishes! What a beautiful feast!

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