Dec 8, 2014

A Tale of Thanksgiving Abroad

So initially, the plan was to get a turkey breast, throw it in the crock pot, and maybe try to track down some cranberry sauce for a lonely Thanksgiving dinner with my little family of three.  But a few days beforehand, the winds of changed determined that no, I wanted it big, and I wanted every single dish we would normally have on Turkey day.  We have four sets of full-time missionaries in our ward (so 8 missionaries total), so we invited them to meet us at the church for a Thanksgiving lunch.  I regretted it right away...I mean, I have never even thought about roasting a turkey in my life, and certainly have never cooked for more than six people before, but we were committed and had the building reserved. We had also asked around, and some of our American friends agreed to join us for the feast (thank heavens, because Becki brought a ton of food and was a huge help).

We shopped on Tuesday, prepped on Wednesday and woke up bright and early to follow the strict oven schedule on Thursday.  The grueling labor of chopping, seasoning and baking became enjoyable as we listened to the fascinating and addictive podcast Serial while we worked...six hours of Serial to be exact.  That's a lot of prep, peeps.  And a lot of Serial.

The problem with my oven is: the temperatures on the dial have either worn off or were never there in the first place.  So my landlord, bless her heart, just wrote in sharpie "min" and "max" without any hint of what the temps are.  So for the last three months I've just been guessing where I should set the dial. They also use Celsius here. When you're just heating up a casserole it's not a big deal, but baking only happens when I'm feeling exceptionally brave.  So I was a little terrified to cook my turkey.  I watched an obscene amount of YouTube videos days in advance on basting and brining and dressing and roasting, and the more I watched the more stressed out I became.  Martha Stewart's voice may seem deceptively calm and soothing, but I honestly wanted to cry after watching her demo.  Actually, I think I did cry.

 In the end, Becki hooked me up with a meat thermometer and I just babysat that turkey like it was my firstborn child (I love you Eleanor).  And it turned out great! It was done just in time.  The zone leaders have a car (so envious) so they picked up all the food from Becki and I's, we walked to the church, Neal carved the bird, all sixteen of us partook of the wonderful meal (Becki made cranberry salsa.  I'm still thinking about that cranberry salsa!), and then we cleaned up the church.  It was fun, so much fun. Definitely worth the work.  But we were exhausted.  I told Neal that I felt like preparing a Thanksgiving meal was more physically and emotionally draining than giving birth (you think I'm joking).  We walked home, crawled into bed just after 7 PM, and caught ourselves all the way up on Serial.  It was glorious.

The only pic we took, the rest of the day was just too darn busy.  Thankful we have such lovely friends when we can't be with family for holidays.

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