Thanksgiving

I learned a few more lessons about cooking a turkey in a European apartment.  I’ll start from the beginning.

When I ordered the turkey, I had to put down a 10 euro deposit.  I asked how much more the turkey would be, and I heard “funfzehn” (15), but he really said “funfzig” (50).  I figured this out when Amit and I picked up the turkey yesterday morning.

The issue of carrying an almost 7 kilo (about 15 pounds) turkey up the stairs was solved by Amit.  He did the manly heavy lifting.  J

When we brought the turkey upstairs, we opened it up.  It came with a little bow on it which was cute.  The bird was really fresh.   The skin of the turkey almost looked like a shrinkwrap on it (we had to double check that there was no plastic on it!)  Then, we looked inside, and the bird was hallow.  They gave us no giblets!  So, we decided to go to Naschmark to eat a Kebab for lunch and go demand our giblets.  But, first we had to get the bird in the oven.  The second thing we noticed about the bird was that it had a weird growth on it.  Amit said it was the neck, and I didn’t think it could be … given that it was on the wrong side of the turkey to be that.  Then, we decided that it was a tail.  Our turkey came with a two inch tail.  I called my mom to ask if her turkey came with a tail, and she laughed at me.

We prepared the stuffing, and turned on the oven.  While I was chopping celery, Amit measured the herbs.  Unfortunatly, I bought dill and not rosemary, but we decided it would be ok without it.

When I took out the pan that was to cook the turkey, I looked back at the oven, and to the pan once more.  There was no way this thing would fit in my tiny oven.  We tried, just in case, and sure enough … it didn’t fit.  We thought of taking the handles off, but there was no way to do that really.  We would up putting the rack into a broiler pan.  It was a little shallow, but it had to do.  So, back to stuffing the bird.  I got my hands dirty and grabbed the stuffing by the handful, then shoved my hand up its butt.  We managed to get all of the stuffing into the turkey.

Next, I held the turkey legs together, and Amit attempted to tie them.  When I let go of the legs, the knot he tied slipped off.  So, he tried again.  After his third retry, I told him to hold the legs.  Since the rack I have was flat, and not a V shape like a normal turkey rack, I had to tie the arms to the body as well  so the bird would fit into the oven.  Then, I poured olive oil on the turkey as Amit massaged the bird.  Then, we put on the herbs.  Since I couldn’t find poultry seasoning, we used a mixture of fresh herbs and dried herbs.  It turns out that the dry ones stick better.  We did not think to pat the fresh ones after we washed them, and oil + water = slippery.  So, they slid off the sides.

Finally, at 12:00 exactly, the bird went into the oven, and we went to demand our giblets.   As we were walking out the door, Amit asked what the nutmeg was for.    When we looked at the recipe, it was supposed to go into the stuffing.  My herb mixer failed.

I know that when I ordered the turkey, I said “mit leber und herz”  … but they were quite surprised by me wanting a “puten compli” that I don’t think my message got across.  When I demanded my giblets, they sent us “down and to the left”, where we saw a Billa (supermarket) and an Asian something.  We figured they must have thought “the asians will have that” so we walked to the Asian store.  When we arrived at the door, we realized that it was a restaurant and decided not to go in because asking for a heart and a liver at a restaurant is a little weird.  So, the butcher must have sent us to Billa.  Reluctantly, we walked in.  We both have seen livers at the grocery store before, but didn’t remember ever seeing hearts.  Amit said “there is no way that we will find any hearts here” just as I found a package of eight turkey hearts!  Although we didn’t find any livers, Amit was able to find a package of chiken livers at Spar (another supermarket).

I return home, and find that the turkey has no drippings yet.  I decided to baste with a little of olive oil.  When I asked my mom what to do, she said “not olive oil, that is only for the begininng.”  Whoops.  So, I made some chicken broth (it comes in a cube) for basting.  After an hour and a half of cooking, the turkey finally started to drip.

The rest of the cooking went smoothly.  Although, around 6:00 chaos began as Bei and Paul started making various food in the kitchen as I was making the gravy.  Amit acted as the doorman and wine pourer during this time.  He even fed me some wine as I was cutting up the hearts and livers (I put in two of each.  Now I need to figure out what to do with all of the extra hearts and livers).

Every bit of food was delicious.  I can’t decide what I liked the best.  Chao brought some hummus and bread, and other various snacking things for starters.  We had turkey, stuffing and gravy made be me, with my mom’s  recipes, slightly altered.  Amit made mashed potatoes with bacon.  Bei made string beans, with bacon.  (I almost added bacon to the stuffing too).  Paul made cranberries sauce from fresh cranberries, an orange, and ginger.   He also made mashed sweet potatoes (of course with ginger).  Michael and Michaela brought dessert, yummy nut squares with chocolate mouse.  It was homemade.  Herbert brought cream to make fresh whipped cream, but he forgot a piece of equipment for that.  So, he just teased us.

It is ironic that the first time I make a Thanksgiving turkey it is in Austria, and not with my family.  Although, my family didn’t miss me as they have replaced me with a my sister’s friend’s sister, who has the same name.  She’s a year younger than me too, I think.

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4 Responses to “Thanksgiving”

  1. Terese Fasy Says:

    Brit – this is a riot! I have tears I am laughing so hard! I can picture you and Amit wrestling with the turkey! haha. So glad everything finally worked out – and I DO hope you have a picture of the turkey to e-mail to me!

    And – we DID miss you – even though there was someone with the same name with us! Her little one year old is ADORABLE! Nanny was in heaven! Sue and Andrew joined us too!

    Love,
    Mom

  2. pk Says:

    Fuenfzig euros! That’s about $100, right? Damn! Und ohne Herzen oder Leber to boot. Nice job; I’m impressed by your persistence 🙂

  3. bfasy Says:

    Yes, all together our turkey was 65 euros … which is almost $100. It cost about 9.50 a kilo which is $14.21 for 2.2 pounds … or $6.50 a pound.

  4. New Goal: Get Freshly Pressed « Brittany's Blog Says:

    […] try to include images when I can.  If I can’t, I try to at least make the text interesting enough (or short enough) on its own […]

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