This year I attempted another Thanksgiving dinner at home. My first me-cooked Thanksgiving went pretty well, as Brandon's sister and brother came and were my sous-chefs for the day. The food was really good, the company better, and our teeny-tiny kitchen a disastrous mess. Kathleen and Sophia were young enough to be ignored the whole day so everyone had a great time.
The second me-cooked Thanksgiving was in Cairo. We had a much bigger kitchen, but very sadly, no family to come keep us company and be pressed into service. The kitchen was just as much of a mess, and there wasn't any company to drown out the complaints of the children who were old enough to resent being ignored. We did, however, had plenty of leftovers, which somewhat made up for the complaining.
So this year we invited company with children, and once again I cooked the Thanksgiving dinner (with some help from Brandon on Thursday and Asli, my new amazing housekeeper on Wednesday) myself. This year, however, I had the added joy of preparing the classic American holiday feast without the help of America being anywhere near.
So I got to improvise.
Luckily potatoes are found almost anywhere in the world, so the mashed potatoes were safe. Same with flour and yeast. But I started running into problems with stuffing. Bread I had, and raisins too, but celery? It turns out you can get it here, but it will cost you - about $10. Sweet potatoes are nowhere to be found, so I cobbled together an orange-colored alternative of local pumpkin/squash/thing with baked potato mixed in for consistency. Luckily, as Brandon noted, streusel topping covers a multitude of sins.
I was smart and packed pumpkin in our consumables shipment, so the pie was safe. And since pecans don't exist here, we opted for apple pie instead. I made ice cream as it's hard to find once the weather cools down. For cranberry sauce, I hunted some vague rumors about carnelian cherries being a good substitute, but wasn't able to find any. So instead we went for an analogous taste - pomegranate sauce - made up on the spot. It was actually quite tasty.
And for the turkey, I was planning on goose, having been assured by Naila that they are available locally. But then she disappeared. And when I asked Asli if she knew where to find goose, I just got a blank look. The honking didn't help either.
The BEA had a turkey order earlier in the month, but I laughed at their expensive turkeys, feeling smug in my fresh local goose. I wasn't so smug Wednesday morning when I called my friend Alison, desperately asking if she knew where any turkeys could be found. She had just bought the last turkey at a grocery store in town, but a friend had ordered on extra turkey and they had bought it, but would be happy to sell the turkey to us. And at the low, low price of $57 I was grateful to have something more than roast chicken. I even managed to fit in in our tiny Euro-oven.
After two days of cooking, the meal came off beautifully. The children enjoyed playing with friends, we didn't make them eat anything they didn't want (everything but the rolls and ice cream), and we had a great time with friends.
An no, I am not making turkey for Christmas.