Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving preparations have begun!

I love Thanksgiving! I actually love it more than Christmas! It's all about the food, hanging out with family and friends, and watching The Sound of Music which typically airs around this time of year. There's no stress and expense of gift giving. Last year we were in the US the week before Thanksgiving and my mom made all the deliciousness even though it was a week in advance. Other years I've spent the day with American friends in England. This year we're in Dublin and it will just be Wes and I. He's taking the day off, just like a real American holiday! :)

I guess my preparations technically began when I started hoarding cans of pumpkin. I told Wes last night that I need to start getting all the bits and pieces for the meal because we all know it's not one stop shopping around here! Sadly, there's no Giant in Ireland. Further complicating matters is our dorm size refrigerator that does not keep things chilled properly, with a freezer that's already tiny even when you don't count the frost that has built up in there again. I can't really make too much stuff ahead of time, but I do plan on doing some of the chopping the day before and I'll make my dessert since it doesn't need refrigerated.

As you can imagine the biggest pain is the turkey. We have no place to store a whole turkey. Plus, with it just being the two of us I'm not interested in eating turkey for a week after. There are, surprisingly, more turkeys here at this time of the year than there were when I was in England. Most people in England have to order their turkeys from the local butcher if they want a fresh one. You can find some frozen ones, but they're not very common. I picked up this turkey breast at Marks & Spencers. If you're looking for turkey in Dublin they have a large selection of various sizes and prices - stuffed/unstuffed, turkey crown, turkey breast, fresh/frozen. I'm not a huge fan of turkey, so I'm hoping we have enough for the day and some leftover for hot turkey sandwiches the next day. I've thrown it in the freezer and I decided I would check for something fresh the day before and if I can't find anything that's appropriate we'll have this one. I may also buy a turkey leg (I've seen some at Dunnes) because Wes likes dark meat and then we'll definitely have enough for leftovers.

I'm now on the lookout for turkey stock so I can make gravy. I'm thinking this will be pretty much impossible to find. M&S sells turkey gravy, but I'd rather make my own. Worst case scenario - I'll buy chicken stock and we'll have chicken gravy on our turkey. We do not have the culinary palate to truly tell the difference!

Let's be honest though...Thanksgiving to me is all about the side dishes! The turkey is ceremonial and makes the gravy necessary for the sides. This is where the crackers in the picture in to the scene. I asked Wes if he liked the cracker salad my mom made last year. He looked confused for a minute, then once I described it to him his eyes lit up! Great. One more thing for me to make! I like cracker salad when my mom makes it, but if I'm cooking for myself I wouldn't bother. It's an ol' Sproat Family Recipe and as far as I can tell it has saltine crackers that are broken up, hard boiled eggs, celery, and bits of the turkey in it. It's served at room temperature and you pour gravy over it. I've been told these Doriano crackers are similar to saltines, so we shall see! Other must-have side dishes are: green bean casserole, corn, mashed potatoes (of course!), and stuffing. If I have room in the oven I'll roast some brussel sprouts (I tried to introduce these to my family last year and they went over like a lead balloon) and I'll also make some deviled eggs. My mom makes candied sweet potatoes which I hate, so they will not make it to the menu. For dessert I'll make a pumpkin spiced bundt cake with buttermilk icing. I pretty much only like pumpkin pie that is completely covered in Cool Whip, but alas, no Cool Whip in Ireland.

So now I've just realized this is a very rambling post about what we're going to eat on Thanksgiving. I guess you can say I'm pretty excited! Next on the list of difficult things I need to find (in addition to the turkey stock) are french fried onions for the green bean casserole.

What are some of your must-haves on Thanksgiving!??


  1. Exciting! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food the day of, and the leftovers. However, it's tough to be away from family.

    Thanks for the tip on where to buy turkeys; I'll pass that along. My husband's coworkers are having fits trying to find turkeys here.

    Can't wait to hear how your dinner turned out!!

  2. I've had American and Canadian Thanksgiving; yummy stuff except for the turkey of course for this veggie!

  3. I am with you!! I love Thanksgiving more than Christmas also. :)

    Andy and I both have Thursday and Friday off... yay! Last year I had to work it as we had just really got here and I started work that Monday so really couldn't ask for a day off in my first week, felt very weird working though.

    I always watch Miracle on 34th Street on Thanksgiving, that is a must for me! :)

    I think this year I am going to make a very small Sweet Potato Casserole, Andy hates it so it will be very tiny just for me. Once I track down some Libby's Pumpkin Filling I will make a Pumpkin Pie and a Pecan Pie. :) I go all out.... hehe

  4. My mom boils the sweet potatoes, then sautes them with butter and brown sugar. I try to like them, but no joy. Christine, I posted a response to your comment on my 365 blog about pumpkin pie!

  5. Niamh, did you try tofurkey when you had your Thanksgivings?

  6. My must have is booze. And lots of it.