Thursday, November 25, 2010

First Thanksgiving

It was grand.

Rather, it was unexpectedly grand.

Eons ago, before the Internet, when we still got information from papyrus and clay tablets my friends in England where I was living at the time asked me if I could cook them a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. Well, after eight pints of beer anything is possible so I agreed, "Sure! No problem! We'll have a feast to remember!"

Several days later I was reminded of my boast to roast and I was hoist by my own inebriated petard.

But, fearless is as fearless does and I set out to buy the stuff of stuffing and other stuff. I got a turkey, potatoes and plenty of wine and beer. If this didn't work out I hoped at least to create a Fog of Success.

I had no kitchen at this time, you see, and I would be cooking at a friend's flat. When they asked if Mark 4 would be a proper temperature to cook a turkey I said "yes" with more assurance than I felt. The only thing I remembered, dimly, about cooking was a Rule of Thumb: 20 minutes a pound plus 20 minutes. In short, although that's pretty short, it means: cook until done.

Well, to make a long afternoon short I produced my very first Thanksgiving Dinner in an unknown kitchen for a bunch of graduate students and friends. We had the turkey which we cleaned to the bones, mashed potatoes (my first attempt), candied yams (lots of guessing but no complaints), local vegetables cooked by my host and sous chef, all preceded and followed by copious amounts of liquid depressants.

Thanksgiving. Seriously, what can go wrong? Friends, family, food and drink. It doesn't matter if the turkey would be approved by Betty Crocker and the decorations certified by Martha Stewart. What is important is the day, being thankful that one has friends and food and drink, and to take pause from the Rat Race at least for a few hours to reflect on what is really important in life.

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

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