As many Americans do every year, I observed Thanksgiving (which always falls on the last Thursday of November, so on November 27, 2014 this year), and I am writing about it almost three weeks late lol.
Last year in Germany, my Studentwohnung did not have an oven, so I was really excited by the chance to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner this year. However, I was faced by other set backs like not enough pots and pans and not enough kitchen space. I had the food delivered on Sunday night before Turkey day from Tesco, the turkey came frozen and I needed time for it to thaw.
I had a hectic week that week because I had to submit a paper and it was my plan to make the deserts on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. I did not get around to finishing my academic work before Wednesday, so that meant I had to spend all Thursday preparing (though I did get around to dicing some vegetables and preparing the seasoning butter for the Turkey the night before!).
So you might ask, “what was on the menu for this great dinner?”. Well, let me tell you:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Pear and Turnip Puree
- Steamed Brocoli and Corn
- Pan-Seared Carrots and Green Beans
- Fruit Salad (with homemade whipped cream)
- Apple Pie
- and of course, Pumpkin Pie
*the linked articles are links to the recipes I used
I started cooking around 12 pm. I wanted to prepare the two pies early in the day and set the turkey to cook by 15:00. The pies were finished by around 2 and I had to run to class.
As a result, I did not make it back to the kitchen until around 15:30, and the turkey was in the oven by around 16:45.The turkey had about three hours of cooking time to go, so I was unsure about how I should proceed. I wanted to prepare everything to be ready at approximately the same time. I was limited by two big factors: the size of my kitchen and only having one large pot.
I waited about an hour (I did not want the veggies to get dry) before cutting and peeling the vegetables for the later parts of the meal. Two of my lovely housemates came down around 18:45 and we set to work on peeling turnips, pears and potatoes while I monitored the turkey. One of my housemates went to borrow a large pot from a neighbor and we realized that I would have to boil the pears and turnips for 40 minutes then bake them for 40 minutes!!
I felt really stupid because I did not pre-read the recipe (big mistake) and attempted to puree the mix before it was soft enough. That left me with some chunks, but as I still needed to boil the potatoes, cook the vegetables and time it all to end at the same time, i figured i would just pop it in the oven as is and hope for the best.
Meanwhile, my housemate Marie was kind enough to take my failed bowl of whipped cream out into the cold to try to whip it into fluffy deliciousness. (Sadly, it was long gone).
Unfortunately, the mashed potatoes suffered the same fate as the turnips. They were not boiled long enough and remained rather lumpy. So as we took pictures of the table and one another, I threw the potatoes on for an extra 5 minutes on intense boil. The milk and the cheese were already in the pot from when I tried to mash the potatoes initially, and the end result was the most delicious almost-mashed potatoes I have ever had!
We sat down to eat with all of the dishes prepared and a couple bottles of French wine uncorked. Needless to say, it was an AWESOME friendsgiving! The two pies came out really nice too! And now, our kitchen is ready for Christmas!