I grew up in a house of parents who loved to entertain. Foodies before foodie was a real word, I saw them spend many hours cooking, thinking about how food is eaten around the world, experimenting, recreating recipes and most importantly hosting all sorts of dinner parties for their friends and family. That is very likely why cooking, hosting friends, throwing dinner parties feels like a part of my DNA, my inheritance. I don't get to do it enough of course (because #corporatehustle) but as we ventured further out into adulthood, D and I almost seamlessly transition to hosting Thanksgiving dinners every year, seizing the long weekend to host and cook for our friends.
During the first years we cooked the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, mash, stuffing, but over the years my Thanksgiving dinners have evolved to a yearly tribute of what I am most grateful for in my life. Last year it was nature. This year my theme was women.
Just like cooking, strong, powerful women who untiringly fight for equality has been a constant inspiration in my life. My mom was the biggest (kindest) feminist I knew, but throughout my life - let that be incredible teachers, the best of friends or biggest professional champions, women have raised me up, lent me a hand, an ear, a shoulder when I needed one, and helped me evolve to the strong woman I am today. I am eternally grateful for their impact on my life, and constantly find myself not only looking up for guidance to those who came before me, but also looking sideways to my peers and juniors who set examples in resiliency, kindness, focus and ambition every day. You are my inspiration this Thanksgiving, and every day looking ahead.
My ode to women is clear in the decor, but as a special shout out I made my turkey as turkey-wat (like doro-wat!) because of Ethiopia's significant advancement in women's empowerment this year, see here and here.
Here is to strong women : may we know them, may we raise them, but most importantly - may we always, always be them.
The table is set. Turkey wat done, place settings with women leaders and the table laid in confetti of everything a woman can be.
Keeping with the theme, on Friday we went to watch The Female Role Model Project.
Ultimately the greatest gift from women is all the loving. They love so much and give so much of themselves to everyone around them that it is impossible to ever be thankful enough. We start our lives with their sacrifices and are blessed in their company ever since. I will always try my best to raise my voice, power and agency to champion for them, and I hope one day this world will too. Forever thankful.
Turkey wat recipe and inspiration from The Immigrant Cookbook, below.