9 Oct 2007

Can I Thank You?

Why do the two countries celebrating Thanksgiving do so on completely different dates? Are they not celebrating the same thing? To an outsider, this is very confusing. Kinda like the summer/winter time situation. Can't we all just change at the same time?

Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada.

I haven't actually been in Canada to celebrate Turkey Day for the past several years, as I usually take the boys to Norway for a week's visit with their cousins at this time of year. Because of the University schedule, Mike has to stay behind and thus often spends Thanksgiving with his mother, who cooks up a feast for him. His life is rough, as we already know.

This year, of course, Mike is with us here in Norway, and Monday's dinner was spaghetti and meat sauce. Benjamin's request. He thought it was good, and Mike seemed to like it.

Good thing, too, because that is pretty much the extent of my cooking abilities.

Anyway, as I was enjoying my list of blogs yesterday, I couldn't help but get inspired by all the Canadians blogging about their Thanksgiving weekend. They described their meals and family get togethers in glorious detail. Which made me hungry and lonely.

Enraptured, I seized the opportunity and have now invited my family to join us for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

I am really looking forward to it. It's going to be great! We are going to have turkey, and stuffing, and...eh... veggies...potatoes (?)...sauce (or should that be gravy?), and all that.



I have no idea how to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. I have never cooked a turkey in my life, barely even a whole chicken. And although I love stuffing, I have absolutely no understanding of what it is or how it's made. As far as I know, it's just "stuff" that you STUFF into the turkey. Somewhere. In either end.

Hmmm...maybe we won't be needing stuffing after all.

But what about the other integral parts of a Thanksgiving dinner. Exactly what are they? Should that be potato wedges or mash? Bacon or sausages? Veggies? Cranberry sauce?

How do I turn this:

Into that:

Anyone? I'm desperate!


Cyn said...

That's when the local deli or supermarket with already-cooked-turkey comes in handy. Or instead of a whole turkey, get just a turkey breast - cooks quicker and most people prefer the white meat anyway.

And hey, start your own tradition - nothing wrong with not having turkey for T'giving :)


Who She She said...

Oh, I wish I could help you, but my tasks on Thanksgiving are mostly the table-setting kind. Once when my mother-in-law was visiting, my husband sent me in to the kitchen to make hot dogs for the kids' lunches. I had a mini-anxiety attack because I couldn't remember if you boiled or fried them. All this to say, I feel your pain and hope it goes well. Oh, one suggestion: lots of wine. Happy Thanksgiving!

SoccerMomofTwo said...

Can't give you any cooking advice but mashed potatoes are a must. Hubby has an awesome recipe I can dig out for them... personally we have the green bean casserole, pies, stuffing, creamed onions, and sweet potatoes (some people prefer marshmellow on top too).
Mmm... gee thanks I'm hungry now!

Lisa@Take90West said...

Oh, that sounds like something I would do! It always sounds like a good idea at the time, and then you realize how much work it will be!
I wish I could help with some recipes, but I am not a very good cook. I am more of a 'go-to-mom's-for-the-food' kind of Thanksgiving participant. I am however, a very good eater.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, Norway style, tomorrow!

MadMad said...

I confess to not knowing anything at all about the question posed, never having cooked a turkey myself (I think it's the one good thing a mother-in-law is for!), but LOVE your blog! Thanks for coming by mine and saying hi - I love meeting new people, and checking out their blogs, even if they lead lives that are way, way, way cooler than mine.

Victoria said...

Okay, I can't help you! LOL! I'd have to order in. =)

But can I still come? It sounds delish (even if it's "just" the pasta and sauce!)

slouching mom said...

We have a gourmet supermarket in our town at which you can buy the whole deal, already prepared -- sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, asparagus or green beans or Brussels sprouts, and of course the turkey, brined of course...

Mmm, I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Good luck!

gmcountrymama said...

I wish I could help you, but today is tomorrow and you are all probably eating by now. I have no idea what the time change is either.
It's taken me a lot of years to learn how to cook and most of the time I enjoy it as long as I can drink alcohol at the same time. I learned through cook books mostly and my husband had learned from his mom.
Once you cook a turkey you'll find it is not that hard. There are mixes for stuffing, but I just dry out peices of bread and add fried onions, garlic,giblets, celery carrots, sage and salt and pepper and chicken broth, then bake it in a pan. OK it sounds complicated but its really not. Good luck, no matter what you eat, as long as there is good company, it doesn't matter.

hokgardner said...

This is exactly why I married a man who loves to cook and is good at it to boot.

morag said...

Just breath. It's very easy, especially since Doug takes care of the turkey here. I wish I could send him over to you to take charge of the kitchen for you, but he won't get there in time. Instead, visit the food network website, there a lots of stuffing recipes. Doug likes the ones with sausages but bread and savory is my family favorite. Mashed potatos are a must and cranberry sauce. You once made an excellent gravy with your pork, something similar to that would be great. I don't know what the trick is to moist turkey but I'm sure that would also be on the website. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your dinner. When Doug's home, I'll try to get some tips.

Rimarama said...

Er . . . do they have stovetop stuffing in Norway? I am dreading the day the Thanksgiving dinner baton gets passed to me.

Good luck!

Karen MEG said...

Funny that Morag does the same thing here - I leave the bird to Ian if we host. I can't hold a candle to my sisters-in-law. Probably because I didn't have turkey for T-giving until I started dating white - oops, - Caucasian guys. Before that we usually had shrimp, an Asian thing (OK, not just shrimp, but that usually shows up at most of our family dinners).
Oh, and the stuffing - Stovetop from the box is the bomb.

ALM said...

Sorry. I'm no help whatsoever. BUT, I did, selfishly, like to read about somebody else who doesn't do much cooking! Sometimes I feel like I'm all alone on a chicken nuggets/spaghetti with meat sauce island....

Family Adventure said...

Thanks everyone! If nothing else, then for knowing that I'm not the only one who is ill-equipped in the kitchen :)
Since there is no Thanksgiving tradition here, the option of buying ready-made stuff for it is out - pre- cooked turkey and stove top stuffing do not exist here. But I will persevere. And make everyone sign a disclaimer before we sit down to eat!

suburbancorrespondent said...

If it's not too late, get a turkey, take out the insides, rinse it out, shove it in one of those Reynold's plastic oven bags (read the directions on the box) and stick it in the oven.

Stuffing - cut up some loaves of crusty (French) bread into little pieces and put it in one of those pyrex baking dishes. Saute some chopt onions and celery with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of poultry seasoning in some oil, then pour it over the bread and mix it together. Add enough chicken broth to make it moist, cover with foil, and stick in the oven.

Mashed potatoes - peel 5 pounds of potatoes. Cut in half. Stick in pot with water, cook until soft enough to mash. Drain potatoes, but save a cup of cooking water. Mash potatoes with water and however much margarine or butter you need to make them look good (plus 2 1/2 t. of salt and 1/2 t. pepper). Boys love mashing, by the way.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Hae Yung said...

How did it go? You know me, I keep it simple as possible. I am the same as Karen where I never touched a turkey until I got married and did it for the kids. I buy stove top stuffing and follow instructions, I buy gravy which I heat up, I buy cranberry sauce I serve out of a can, I make mashed potatoes because it's easy and I can. I steam some vegetables, again because it is easy. That's my Thanksgiving dinner, easy. I am going to take some lesson from Monika for next year.