Yesterday marked the first time we’ve had to worry about getting typhoid from our Thanksgiving dinner, but with any luck, it won’t be the last.

We had been invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a lovely retired artist, but sadly her mother’s health has declined so she had to cancel. We found out Monday, and there was plenty of time to make other plans. Because of the huge number of Americans living in San Miguel de Allende, many restaurants were offering a full Thanksgiving dinner of turkey and the works, so we knew we had options. Unfortunately, we didn’t make a decision on Tuesday and only started considering the possibilities on Wednesday, when it turned out to be too late to make reservations at some of the restaurants.

No worries, we decided we would just fix our own Thanksgiving dinner. I love to cook, and our very first Thanksgiving together was spent by ourselves, cooking our own meal, so this would just be like old times. Besides, we’re used to spending holidays on our own, having spent last Christmas in Egypt. I scouted the stores, trying to decide on an appropriate menu that could be prepared in our somewhat limited kitchen. We decided on a menu of beer-butt chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade dressing, fresh baked bread from a local bakery, carrots, corn, apple sauce, fruit salad and dessert. We felt like this was a pretty good approximation of a Thanksgiving meal, considering what was on offer in town. The closest we could get to dill pickles, for example, was dill relish, so we would have to make do.

At ten o’clock Thanksgiving morning our power went out. We assumed it would be back on shortly but hour after hour passed with no change. I didn’t want to buy a chicken that may have been sitting out with no refrigeration for hours (this is done regularly at some places already even when there is power) which made me nervous the longer the power outage lasted. It turned out the power outage was limited to our neighbourhood, so we knew we could find properly cooled chicken when the time came. The apartment has a gas oven, so we could cook, but if we didn’t have lights we’d never be able to finish cooking once the sun went down.

It was a waiting game, and we lost. Because the power wasn’t back on until around six, we had no chicken, and no time to buy, prepare, and cook one. So, off we went to our favourite taqueria (in this case, a street vendor selling tacos) and feasted on gringas de pastor, which is like a quesadilla. I don’t really think there’s a risk of getting typhoid from places like this, but one of Amy’s friends said we were chancing it if we ate street food in Mexico. We’ve eaten at taquerias a dozen times with no ill effects, but I have to admit they don’t quite follow procedures that would stand up to the scrutiny of a county health inspector.

So, while it wasn’t exactly traditional, it was great food in a great city, and for that we were thankful. Besides, we simply pushed back making the full meal until tonight, and we did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself.