Gluttony and sloth are my preferred deadly sins, so it would make sense that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A four-day weekend and nothing to do except eat and watch football? Yes, please.
The problem: I’m in Italy, and no American holiday is more difficult to pull off than Thanksgiving. Think about it; have you ever seen an Italian eat turkey? Have you ever seen a Macellaio (butcher) with a whole turkey in the display case? Italy eats pig. Salami, prosciutto, pancetta, pork pork pork. And the occasional cow and fish. And my Roman roommate has just informed me that even horse meat is consumed more frequently than turkey. Yes, you heard that right. They eat horse here too. Italian poultry dishes are few and far between.
Problem #1 – If you are lucky enough to realize that you have to special order your tacchina femmina intera – whole female turkey – from a butcher several days (if not a week) in advance, you’re on your way to a great T-day. However, you must also realize that you have to specifically request the turkey to be “pulito” – clean. Otherwise you’ll have to gut the damn thing yourself – not something I ever plan on doing.
Problem #2 – Getting it home. Ordering the “clean” turkey from the butcher, and estimating the size you need (in kilos) is just the tip of the iceberg. You will then need to walk home with the beast (or take the bus) and haul it up to the 5th floor (no elevator). I should have started training for this months ago.
Problem #3 – il Forno – the oven. Have you ever seen the size of an Italian kitchen, and more specifically the size of an Italian oven? Getting the bird in the oven will be a feat accomplished only by a master of geometrical rearranging – luckily I’ve played my fair share of tetris, we just might make it work. However, we might need to sever some limbs. Hope you like white meat!
Problem #4 – all that planning and effort is just for the turkey. What about the pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes, the candied yams, the gravy, and veggies?!?! We have one oven (with one rack), and a teeny tiny toaster oven. It will be absolute chaos, and quite an adventure. Photos to come.
Happy Turkey Day everyone! And don’t forget to be thankful for your American kitchens and Foster Farms – you have no idea how much easier Thanksgiving is to pull off with both of them.