This Thanksgiving was spent very different compared to all past Thanksgivings. Three pretty big factors contributed to this…
1) I didn’t spend it with my family
2) I was in London
3) I got roped into cooking the turkey.
Living in London, there are two options if you want to eat Thanksgiving dinner: you can either cook it yourself, or spend £20 or more at one of the many restaurants serving an “American Thanksgiving Dinner”. I had originally planned on opting for the later, however my dear friend of over 10 years, Julie, convinced me we could just have it at her place. Everyone would bring something (potluck style), but she needed someone to take care of the turkey. So reluctantly I agreed to take on this task. The guest list started out with 6 people, however as we got closer to the big day, that number doubled to 12. Awesome. To top it off, only 2 of the guests had told us what they were bringing! Our other friend from high school, Erin, said she would make pies, and one of Julie’s friends, Pete, said he would bring mac & cheese. That still left us with 8 people with mystery sides.
After spending all week searching for recipes on line and asking friends for advice, I was still a bit weary about how this was going to go.
Julie had bought The Bird (as I will refer to it from now on) since we were having dinner at her place, so I headed there around noon and we got started. Of course, we were missing pepper, a pan to cook The Bird in, and most importantly, a thermometer to stick in The Bird to know when it is done. We went to the store and found every thing we needed, except for the thermometer. This became obstacle #1 – we had no way of knowing when The Bird was done.
Once back at Julie’s flat, I started cleaning The Bird and chopping up some veggies to stuff it with for flavor. When we went to pre-heat the over, we realized that there were no numbers on the dial, just a line that was thin on one end, and thick on the other. This became obstacle #2 – we had no way of knowing what temperature the oven was set to. And yet, we carried on. When The Bird was stuffed, buttered, salted, peppered, and seasoned (using seasonings that we realized after the fact were 6 years past their expiration date), it was time to throw it in the oven (at God only knows what temperature). Luckily, The Bird fit in the tiny, no numbers on the dial, British oven that we were using to cook Thanksgiving dinner with.
After hours of cooking, basting, covering, uncovering, FINALLY getting a thermometer to stick in The Bird, and then converting Fahrenheit to Celsius so we could read the thermometer correctly…we waited. 73 degrees Celsius was the magic number. We waited a while. We kicked up the oven, hoping that would help. Finally, the thermometer hit 75. So I pulled out The Bird and we started to cut, but we then realized it was almost done. Luckily for us, Julie had a spastic grill contraption above her oven that cooks things well and quickly. So, we decided to improvise.
We took The Bird out, did the “ceremonial” cutting, and then took it back in the kitchen where we proceeded to cut off pieces, place them on a plate, an stick them in “the grill” to cook at warp speed. See Julie’s “grill” basically cooks thing faster than any other oven/grill/microwave known to man, so we figured it would be the safest option.
And it TOTALLY worked. Everyone ate, drank, and had a fabulous time. No one got sick (hallelujah!) and I somewhat successfully cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey.
I hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and/or friends as well, wherever you were.