Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I have an extensive list of favorite recipes I like to use, and I am in full support of a holiday whose sole purpose is gathering together to eat yummy food and feel grateful.

Things may be a little different this year. Not because I don’t feel grateful, but because I live in Pakistan where our quaint American Turkey Day ways don’t apply. Here is a short list of things I am most worried about sourcing in time to cook the big Thanksgiving feast I am planning:

Sausage (we’re in a pork-free country, remember)
Butternut Squash
Goat Cheese
Apple cider (to brine the turkey)
About 100 other essential Thanksgiving items

Things I am not worried about:

Turkey. Thanks to my friend Jamie who is working at the Embassy, I scored a nice Butterball from the commissary that even now awaits the big day in my freezer. Thanks Jamie!

Pomegranate seeds (for my famous goat cheese & pomegranate salad). It is pomegranate season here, and the big, fat pomegranates that lie in heaps on every corner put all of our sad little American versions to shame. I drink fresh pomegranate juice here almost every day when I am traveling.

Ginger, oranges, cloves, peppercorns (key ingredients for turkey brine). They do spices well in Pakistan, and we’re coming into citrus season now.

Update: I went to a highly-recommended veggie stand in F-10 today and found the following treasures–shallots! arugula! And a large gourd like none I have ever seen that nonetheless should stand in nicely for the butternut squash. We’re in business.