I am way behind on blogging. Again. I decided to skip a few weeks and post about Thanksgiving, but I’ll post the missing weeks later.
The week leading up to Thanksgiving was pretty stressful. We started planning about three weeks beforehand, but we hand to change a lot close to the date. We had to plan the dishes we wanted and would make, and then had to move our plans up a day to make sure everyone could come.
I got the recipes for my favorite dishes from my grandma and looked up short video clips on how to make a turkey and gravy. I also took responsibility for some other dishes that had not been claimed, which began to worry me.
The day of our dinner arrived. I woke up by 8:30 to prepare for the big day of cooking at my host family’s house. Cooks arrived by 8 pm. The turkeys arrived at 10:30, and were much smaller than expected. We thought we’d have to cook them all day because someone else bought them, we didn’t know how big they were, and we didn’t know how to convert kilograms to pounds (although the internet could have helped).
We reviewed the short clip on how to prepare a turkey. I removed the giblet packet, and thought something was funny in the body, but didn’t know what it was and couldn’t pull it out. We looked online and a blog said to remove the neck, but we didn’t know how. I washed the turkey in and out with warm water to clean and thaw it a bit more. I tried removing the thing in the body again and pulled out the neck! We finished preparing the turkey, which involved liberally seasoning the inside and separating the skin to apply seasoned butter, and put it in the oven in an oven bag. It turned out delicious and not dry.
We began preparing the rest of the meal. For grandma’s fried onion, mushroom and green bean casserole. I had to pan fry the onions because there were no frozen fried onions at the store! I put everything together in the dish and something looked funny. There was a lot of milk at the bottom, but I put it in the oven and I thought it would evaporate. I cooked it for the amount of time necessary, then finally realized that I had forgotten to add the cream of mushroom soup! I added the soup and mixed it together and put it in the oven. I was really sad because I thought I ruined the dish, but it was still delicious!
I don’t think I made my grandma’s stuffing well, but part of that was because we didn’t stuff the turkeys with it because we thought they’d take too long to cook.
We planned to make another stuffing dish - cornbread stuffing, but that was an adventure… I didn’t see cornmeal at the supermarket and thought they called it corn meal here, because that was all that was in the store. But when we looked online later we discovered that it is not the same, and would make the cornbread rock-like. We looked online for a solution and learned that you can make it with corn. One of the cooks walked to the store and all they found was creamed corn. We made the cornbread with creamed corn and it was amazing.
For all the trouble it was to plan, Thanksgiving in New Zealand was awesome. The weirdest part of the day was the weather: 70 degrees and sunny, with green trees outside; completely opposite to the weather in New York, where I usually go for Thanksgiving. I can also now say that I have prepared and cooked a turkey!