(…or how Adam and I cooked a meal for 16 people -including a 21lb turkey- and survived)
As an American living in Canada, I have taken it upon myself to bring Thanksgiving to November for my Canadian friends. Even after being here for 6 Canadian Thanksgivings, I’ve never really gotten used to the idea of Thanksgiving being in October… and on a Monday. It just doesn’t seem right.
So 5 years ago, when Adam and I first had our apartment together, I decided to invite a few friends over for a US Thanksgiving dinner. That year was quite small – 6 people total. As big of a gathering as our 700 sq ft apartment could handle. We also kept it a bit non-traditional and skipped the turkey. It instead became a Vegetarian US Thanksgiving – with the main course being my now famous mac & cheese along with some roasted veggies in a puff pastry cornucopia (I was so proud of those!), a recipe found in an issue of Vegetarian Times (they keep their recipes locked or I’d include the link).
Table set: Dinner for 16 (plus 2 babies)
It has since become an annual tradition among our friends, and now the group has ballooned up to a whopping 16 people. I really love this tradition – it means that we get to spend Canadian Thanksgiving with Adam’s family, and then US Thanksgiving with our friends. Bit of a best of both worlds sort of situation (except for how I wish we could spend it with *my* family sometime, but I guess that’s what happens when I move to another country). Anyway, I’ve started offering the traditional turkey, and this year I finally stopped wimping out… no more cook-from-frozen-pre-stuffed turkey! I’ve always kind of gone with a fingers-in-ears approach when preparing meat: I’m not eating it, so I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT IS NAH-NAH-NAH-NAH. Clearly, not the most sensible thing. If my money is going to be used to buy it, and my kitchen used to prepare it, I want to know that the meat I am buying is coming from a responsible source and that I’m not supporting factory farming. I ended up going with Fresh From The Farm – a sort of co-op of local Amish and Mennonite farmers – not organic like the widely-known The Healthy Butcher in Toronto, but also nearly 40% less cost. And as much as I want to support local/organic/humane, I also don’t want to go totally broke. And when purchasing a turkey for dinner for 16, you need a big turkey!
So… 21.4lb turkey. It’s big! Really really big! And I had to cook it! Eeeeek! Herein lies the rest of my comedy of errors in preparing our Thanksgiving meal (beware vegetarians… lots of details of turkey preparing below): (more…)