Ciao Readers! And HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!!
Okay, I know I said I was working past my culture shock and the need to replicate state-side foods, but now it’s Thanksgiving! I’m not a big traditionalist, but Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday and filled with many personal traditions. Except for the few years where folks have come to share the day with us, Thanksgiving usually goes something very close to this: we wake up early and get the turkey in the oven before Steve takes me to run some Thanksgiving-day-themed 5k (usually the “Turkey Trek” or “Hobbler Gobbler”); we get back and finish all the cooking (enough to feed way more than the 2 of us); we then get in our p.j.’s and watch a day-long marathon of holiday movies while we stuff ourselves (favorites include “Pee Wee’s Christmas Special” and “Scrooged”). Now the question has been, how will we celebrate in Italy?
First off, clearly Thanksgiving is not a holiday here – Steve has to work and I’ll be going to school (not sure I mentioned, but I started back) – so Thursday is not going to cut it (though I do plan on setting my ipod/nike gadget for a 5K on Thursday and running my own Turkey Trek). Mostly, though, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving a little late (which is okay – one year our families came for “fake” Thanksgiving a week late because it was easier for everyone to travel then). However, while the date may be off, the food will be pretty darn close. I started sourcing ingredients a couple of weeks ago. And, since I wasn’t certain I was going to be able to get it all right, we had to have some “test runs.” I made a test-run pumpkin pie with condensed milk from Vivi Market, using store-bought Butoni “pasta sfoglia” (puff pastry) for the crust and making my own pumpkin puree from a big chunk of a green pumpkin-like thing I got at the grocery (they actually sell Libby’s canned pumpkin at Vivi, but it is stupid expensive and the fresh stuff worked great!). Steve beat the fresh cream by hand, and voila! Not too shabby (photo of the pieces we shared with the Rosticerria guys):
I didn’t think we were ever going to find yams as I’d been keeping an eye out for awhile, but whatd’ya know, at Mercato Centrale there is a small Central American food vendor tucked away in the back and they have them (also baked a couple of those for a test-run). Turkey (parts) and potatoes and green beans are no problem (and they have great, fancy mushroom creams here to use with the green beans). I planned very far ahead for the stuffing and brought a box mix for cornbread, to which we will add stale bread (adding day-old baguettes became a new tradition in 2008 when we were in Paris at Thanksgiving and that’s how I made stuffing) (alas, though, no green chiles – another personal traditional twist on stuffing). The final piece of the puzzle was the cranberry sauce…. I tried and tried to source some fresh cranberries, but to no avail. So, I broke down and bought one of these very tiny (very expensive) jars of ocean spray sauce at Vivi Market:
As for the holiday movie marathon, I actually brought those DVD’s, and while they don’t play on the Italian tv system, they do play on my laptop – so we will be spending “Thanksgiving” with Bill Murray, as always!
Whatever your own traditions, please have a warm and wonderful holiday! Cheers!