I don’t have a ton of time to post today– it being thanksgiving and all. I am off to the Embassy for what I hope will be a yummy lunch. That said, I thought I should review the two times in my life when I have actually been in charge of cooking thanksgiving dinner.
- The first was in college in Chile. Melissa and I decided we were going to make a turkey and everything. Of course neither of us had ever made a turkey– at best we have vaguely observed our mothers do it. Besides the frozen giblets in a bag getting stuck in the turkey and dinner being served 4 or 5 hours after planned serving time all was well. Not to mention, the cooks were drinking wine blended with sugar and strawberries– so we had no complaints about how late dinner was. Of course, by that point we had had to confiscate the cell phones, cords from the home phone and car keys of everyone in the house so that we could have actual guests.
- The second (and third) Thanksgiving I did were a bit more ambitious. I cooked 12 turkeys for 200 guests. Granted, I had help. (Or I was the help). See, Peace Corps Moldova has a tradition of Thanksgiving dinner for all the staff, volunteers, and special invitees (Ambassador, partners at UN orgs, etc). The first year I helped Clara, the second year I was in charge. My major obstacle here was not not knowing what I was doing (by that point I had learned to cook a turkey and Auntie Helen and my parents had sent recipes for stuffing). The major problem was convincing the Moldovan kitchen staff (we were using a hotel kitchen) that I knew what I was doing and did not need their input or help. The trick, as we learned, was to get the kitchen staff very drunk by supplying them with bottles and bottles of cognac. This way, they didn’t care what I was doing. Dinner, by the way, was delicious.