Homestyle Thanksgiving Dinner IS ON in Madrid

I couldn’t stand it anymore. Exhausting ALL of the published possibilities of easy-in-easy-out restaurants serving a Thursday turkey dinner, I’ve resigned myself to cooking the turkey myself – IN MY OWN HOUSE. I must be crazy.

mr-bean-cooking-turkey.jpgMy local “Chicken Shop” tells me they can order a whole turkey with 24-hour notice. I asked, sheepishly, “Will it still have the features on it?” Both “The Chicken Lady” and another woman – who was there just to chat – laughed and said, “We don’t live in a village, you know!” So yes, the bird comes “clean”. I forgot to ask if it came with its innards, head and feet, though. Probably not. 5 Euros per kilo, she tells me. Is that expensive? I guess it doesn’t matter now. I’m in up to my elbows in resignation of being the Thanksgiving Day chef.

Hmmm… Why does the image of Mr. Bean attempting to cook a turkey for the first time come to mind? (see photo at right)

Having the turkey taken care on “the front end” is one less thing to worry about, albeit simply ORDERING the turkey is the easy part. Now I need the supplies to cook the gobbler. What will I need?

I carefully summon visions of Grandma’s annual turkey-cooking efforts and make a mental list of things I’ll need. And how does one get such American holiday cooking items here in Madrid, Spain? That’s simple! At The American Store! So that’s where I went yesterday, to the store location just a hundred meters from “El Clínico de San Carlos” hospital. And it was there I found nearly everything I needed. Not only do they carry all the “normal” things like Peanut Butter & Jelly, pancake mix and syrup, fudge brownie mixes, and every American candy and snack known to man, but they also carry seasonal food stuffs like the ones I was seeking.

Right on the “end cap” upon going downstairs were (nearly) all the Thanksgiving Day items necessary to create an All American Thanksgiving Day feast. Here’s the list of my purchase:

  • Aluminum Turkey cooking pan: 2.50 Euros
  • Box of stuffing: 3.00 Euros ea.
  • Box of Turkey Cooking Bags: 3.50 Euros
  • Packs of Turkey Gravy: 1.85 Euros ea.
  • 2 Cup measuring cup:  2.10 Euros
  • Big-@ss Can of Pumpkin Pie filling: 4.75 Euros
  • Graham Cracker Pie Shells: 3.90 Euros ea.
  • Cranberry Sauce: 2.75 Euros ea.
  • =======================
  • Purchase Total: 54.60 Euros

I walked out of there and towards the Moncloa metro station with two big bags of STUFF, kind of proud of myself, and taking another step forward in having a successful All American Thanksgiving Day feast with (mainly) my Spanish friends at home.

Now I have to do some internet research about how long to cook the bird, at what temperature, and other details. Many of the boxes I bought had instructions on how to calculate such things so I’m feeling confident. I’ve seen others essentially “wrap” the turkey in aluminum foil for cooking but I’m trying these clear-plastic turkey-cooking bags. The box swears the plastic won’t melt around the bird at high temperatures. Hope that’s true!

Surely I won’t sleep a wink the night before, fretting over the details, worrying about an undercooked, bacteria-rich turkey or an overcooked, dry-as-a-wishbone one, leaving my Spanish guest STILL wondering what a properly cooked turkey must taste like. So wish me luck, everyone! I’LL CERTAINLY NEED IT!

Oh, and by the way, THIS is my 100th Blog Posting!!

UPDATE: Read the aftermath of the aforementioned Turkey Day preparation in the blog posting entitled “Homemade Thanksgiving Feast: A Semi-Success” for details and photos.

 
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