i woke up to an empty house, zhu lei and his girlfriend having already left for their chinese student thanksgiving party at MIT. with both my flan and pumpkin pie already finished, i still had one more thing left to do: bake a bread! i decided to make a raisin orange bread and started throwing the ingredients into the bread machine tub. after some button presses, i heard the familiar whirr of the bread machine pedal in action. for some reason the bread was soupier than normal, even though i used pretty much the same ingredients as before. i added more flour but that didn't seem to help, and the final result was a heavy and rather flat bread that seemed more like a pound cake. zhu lei and his girlfriend came home by 4pm. my mother had already been calling, asking if we could be ready sooner rather than at 5:30pm. i told my roommates the news but they seemed reluctant to leave just yet because after seeing me create 3 separate thanksgiving dishes, they wanted to bring something as well. so they ended up making a pot of stewed beef with winter melon. my sister showed up at 5pm to take us back to belmont.

walking into the house, i was engulfed by the aroma of the baking turkey in the oven. food were already laid out on the expanded dining room table. i fished out my camera and lenses from my backpack and started my own annual thanksgiving tradition, which is photographing the food. i went through all three lenses: the 60mm macro, the 17-50mm f2.8, and the telephoto 70-300mm.

thanksgiving was also the perfect venue for me to try out my new external flash which arrived 5 days ago. from now on, no more blurry indoor family photos! although having shot with no flash for so long, i still like the look of natural lighting. i shot everything with the flash bouncing off the ceiling (which as you recall i repainted back during september).

normally there's so much food already on the table that by the time the turkey is finally ready, there's never any space for it, so we always cut our turkey on the side, and pass the plates of pre-sliced turkey meat around.

and as often the case, there's so much hype leading up to thanksgiving that when the day actually arrives, even if i've been starving myself all day so i can have a better appetite for dinner, i still end up not eating as much as i originally planned. and sure enough, i was already feeling sleepy even before the turkey arrived! the cold thick sweetness of the egg nog didn't help either!

after we finished eating, it was time for the much anticipated dessert (flan!). i made enough for everyone (14) with 2 extras. i also brought out my pumpkin pie, which people only managed to pick at after eating a plate of pudding.

i would've stayed long, but i could sense my two roommates were getting antsy. not really knowing anyone and seemingly too shy to strike up a conversation with the other guests (just as i feared), they started following me around yet too afraid to ask when we were leaving. not wanting to prolong their silent suffering any more, i had my sister bring us back to cambridge, taking a detour via mt.auburn cemetery, where they were going tomorrow to do some sightseeing. i pointed out where the bus stops were, until they told me they were going to bike here. bike? apparently this whole weekend they've been using that yellow beat-up bike in my basement, along with that one normal bike (normal if you consider a stuck kryptonite u-lock dangling from the handlebar as normal). i nodded in acknowledgment, but wished that maybe they told me sooner so i didn't have to waste my time tracing a bus route they weren't going to take.

the last time my parents had a dinner party was chinese new year back in february. according to them, the china that we used for that dinner were also stolen during their recent burglary, since they couldn't find them anymore. update: (071123) my mother called and told me they've since found the missing china. in retrospect, it didn't make very much sense that a cat burglar would break from pattern and steal a box of heavy and noisy porcelain plates.