Thanksgiving is just another day for Italians, but we decided that we would try and make it special for our fellow Americans here. We also wanted to have some Italian friends there...somehow it didn't seem right to have a big dinner in Italy with only expats there. It ended up an International dinner. We had six Americans, a British mother and daughter with holiday house in Scalea and our two closest Italian friends from here in the village. As you can imagine, there was a lot of fun Italian being battered around the table – some done well and fast, some less so.
Thanksgiving is the most popular of American holidays and 40 million people were expected to travel for the holiday, and check-out TSA’s new security features at some airports. Weather can be an issue with Thanksgiving. I know my brother was expecting -29C at his place in Montana, my daughter had snow in Denver, and Oregon had snow and freezing rain – delightful! We are still in a wet rainy pattern in Calabria with highs around 14C. Regardless, it was a great day with a bunch of good friends just like the holiday was meant to be.
One does not find turkeys in the stores here – just turkey parts, so we ordered a whole turkey, asking for a 10 kg bird. It arrived at the local butcher’s Monday where they mentioned it was a little larger. Yes, it was 16 kg which converts to 35 lbs. So how do you put a bird that big into an Italian refrigerator or oven? Take out all the racks, say a few choice words, push, shove, kick. Every surface in the oven was in contact with the turkey including the door. Ecco.
I asked Giussepe Antonio at the meat market whether it was really turkey, or perhaps a struzzo (ostrich). Here it is just out of the oven—nicely falling apart done.
For this event, we used the new space in the guest flat because it has a bigger table, and we sat 10 pretty well. Di set a lovely table to go along with all the great food she and the guests were making.
We had to hope for the best with some things given what was available locally. No familiar winter squashes or yams at the market, but we found zucca--it looks sorta like a pumpkin with the same meat, so pie from scratch and baked pieces. Our two guests from England brought a bag of Canadian cranberries that were fun and comforting to have.
We adjourned upstairs for digestivo drinks and more conversation. I think Sofia was bored listening to the adults talking about mold on their walls, water heaters and the Italian bureaucracy in general, but no one fell asleep on the sofa watching football as in the States--just a lively time spent with good friends.
Well you know where to find me for the next couple days--we used real flatware and china instead of the plastic throwaway that is more popular here—I see why. Didja see how that turkey hung over the pan? You would NOT want to see the inside of this oven!!
Ciao a la festa prossima, Guido