November 30, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Traditions

Thanksgiving Thursday came and went – it was so weird to spend the day just like any other day. I was a bit sad about it so Jacob met me for lunch and we decided to go to the local California cuisine restaurant – and sure enough they had a special Thanksgiving menu! It absolutely made my day!

While I was unable to properly celebrate Thanksgiving on the actual day, I had made plans to have people over on Saturday so that I could introduce the holiday to all of our friends here. We were expecting 10 people to come over and share in the special holiday.

And guess what, I did it! I can officially say that I’ve made Thanksgiving dinner. Jacob and I managed to pull off making a gigantic turkey (22 pounds/10 kilos!!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies. I would have done cranberry sauce, but believe it or not, cranberries are yet another one of those things that are impossible to find here – cranberries and blueberries actually have the exact same name in Spanish, as if they taste remotely the same!!? And sage, apparently they don’t do sage here either. Someone remind me to buy some when I come home for the holidays.

The craziness began Friday night when I decided I would first conquer the desserts – pie and cookies. I had brought ingredients from the States for both, so they were super easy. Desserts – done.

Saturday morning we began with the stuffing (no, I wasn’t adventurous enough to actually stuff the turkey). I had to do without the sage, but made do with other herbs. With the stuffing done, we moved onto the mashed potatoes. We peeled and diced them and then made a quick run to Starbucks and the gym to take a break.

We returned from the gym to get the turkey started and finish off the potatoes. The turkey was just plain huge, any bigger and it wouldn’t have fit in the oven. Covered in oil, herbs and spices, we managed to squeeze it into the oven. At which time we finished up the garlic mashed potatoes, and then just waited for guests to arrive. And by the way – shame on me for not buying a turkey baster in the States – the only one I could find here cost 17.50 Euros!!! I swear I saw a package of two for $1.99 at Safeway before I left…I’m kicking myself now.

So the turkey took like 4+ hours – good thing Spaniards don’t mind eating late. I don’t think we were eating until probably 11:00. Before everything was ready though, I had to make the gravy, which ended up being the most difficult thing of all. Our kitchen is a bit small (I think it’s about the size of my closet in SF…OK, maybe a little bigger, but not by much!) so between Jacob trying to acquaint himself with the turkey, and me trying to figure out how the heck to make gravy, it just got messy (literally and figuratively). I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say that all’s well that ends well! Every last thing turned out perfectly – even the gravy! And while last night the kitchen was a disaster zone of turkey juice and flower, this morning it is finally clean and completely sanitized (I hope!).

And now my friends I have to go to Bucharest, so I can’t even enjoy the massive amount of turkey leftovers :(. It was as good as a Thanksgiving could get though given that I am so far from home. Everyone here loved the food so much and is anxious to do it all again. I am glad that I could share such a special holiday with such great people in such an amazing place.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. Just a couple more weeks and I’ll be home again for the holidays – can’t wait!

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