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Thursday, November 17, 2005

My first Thanksgiving in Italy

Thanksgiving is not an Italian Holiday.

Yet nevertheless, as an American woman it was a holiday that I have warm memories of, and I wanted to keep that feeling alive.
My husband had obviously never celebrated it before, so I wanted to make this year's thanksgiving extra special.
The year was 2002.

Not only was it my first Thanksgiving in Italy, but it was my first Thanksgiving as a married woman.
Even though there are only 2 of us in my household -me and my husband- I was determined to get all of the foods required for a real, proper Thanksgiving meal to show him a little what it's about...

My planning started a few days before. I went into a store that sells English and American products and looked for cranberries. I didn't find any.
The store did however sell canned cranberry sauce. I looked at the price tag... 6 Euro.
Too expensive for a can of cranberry sauce !
I decided at that point to forget it. Who needs cranberry sauce anyway ?

I then went to the supermarket to buy things they called sweet potatoes, and zucca, which I thought was pumpkin, but after I bought a chunk and got home, discovered that it was more like a butternut squash.

I also saw that the store sold turkey legs, so I figured that somewhere there must be a whole turkey in hiding but, no.
For that you have to go to a butcher shop.

I then went to a butcher and told the guy behind the counter that I wanted a turkey.
He pointed to some dead chickens complete with feet and heads hanging from the ceiling.

I repeated my question, thinking that maybe he didn't understand me when I said TURKEY.
I was expecting one of those big breasted animals that I'm used to seeing. The butcher again pointed to those chicken-looking things hanging from the ceiling.

On closer inspection I did see the crown that you find on turkey heads on these creatures, but after seeing their yellow feet I just couldn't move myself to buy one.

I know that turkeys have feet, but I'm too used to buying my food pre-packaged with the head and feet removed.
I decided NOT to buy turkey. Who needs turkey on thanksgiving ?

"It will be a just have to be a vegetarian Thanksgiving" I thought to myself.

As justification I reasoned that my husband and I are not really fans of turkey anyway.

Back to those items that I thought were sweet potatoes they weren't. They were hard as rocks and white inside.
There were 4 in each package.
When I saw a worm crawl out of one I threw them all away.
We had regular potatoes in the house for mashed potatoes anyway.

I was planning on serving both kinds of potatoes, but, well, who needs sweet potatoes when there are already mashed potatoes being served ?

The 'pumpkin' I bought was just too hard to mash up to make a pumpkin pie.
And the canned mix they sell in the stores cost 6.50 Euro.
Too much to spend on a can of pumpkin mix !
Oh well. Who needs dessert anyway. Just extra calories.

The greenbeans I made looked a little funny without the fried onions that I usually use for a topping, but oh well you can't have everything.

Buzzurro came home early from work that day for a lovely thanksgiving dinner of mashed potatoes and greenbeans and of course lasagna.
It was not really special as I wanted, more like a normal meal.
Next year we'll just order pizzas.