Months and months ago, an at-the-time new friend said to me (essentially) (paraphrasing) “oh! You’re an American! We can have Thanksgiving this year!” to which I said something along the lines of “HELL YES WE CAN!”
Which of course, got me thinking about Thanksgiving. It seems like it must be this massive undertaking. Loads of dishes to prepare, loads of people . . . all the potential for a logistical nightmare. And the closer it got to Thanksgiving, with permission granted to host it at Sir Not Appearing in this Blog’s house, with his family and our friends, the more stressed I got. I combed the internet for recipes, desperately trying to figure out which sweet potato and marshmallow casserole would best capture the very ESSENCE of Thanksgiving in America. Not to mention converting recipes from US measurements to UK measurements, figuring out exactly how much food we needed to buy.
Because turkey is a Christmas bird in England, we had to special order our turkey from the butcher. And let me tell you, when you order a 9 kilo (18 pound) turkey from the local butcher in early November, their eyes kinda pop out of their skulls a little bit.
Skype conversations with my Mom sort of helped. But when you’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving meal before, and somebody else has done it a few times, you don’t necessarily trust that they’re remembering their first time with total clarity. But Mama insisted that a successful Thanksgiving was all about organization. So, by Friday night (we had our Thanksgiving on Sunday because, naturally, the English don’t get the day off on Thursday), we had planned our big event down to the minute and pound. We knew exactly how much food we were getting, and exactly when everything needed to be done.
And sure enough, 44 hours later everything went on the table exactly as planned and exactly when planned. And our turkey put all other turkeys to shame (not that I had anything to do with it). The skin was crisp and brown and the meat was juicy and flavourful (prepped with a sage and orange zest butter, of course). Our Thanksgiving cocktails (made for our own home-made cider* spiked with bourbon) went over well, it seems, as did our deliciously boozy cranberry sauce.
And it turns out that Mama was right, as usual. That the devil is in the details. My first real British Thanksgiving was perfect: good food, good people, and football on TV. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll do it all again next year.
*we bought the apple juice, let’s not go crazy
**there are much less blurry pictures that I’m much more proud of. However, they were not taken by me and . . . you know, this is the internet.