Thursday, November 27, 2014

How to Have Thanksgiving in Italy

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone back home! We celebrated on Tuesday because the Coppa Italia tournament starts today so Ryan (and team) are away in Val Pellice.

Since this was our fourth Thanksgiving in Italy, we've gotten pretty good at celebrating in another country - one in which most people have never heard of Thanksgiving. So we put together a list of Thanksgiving staples and how to make them in Italy:

Turkey - First of all, make sure you get your kilos to pounds ratio correct. On our first Thanksgiving in Italy, four years ago, we ordered a 20 pound turkey. Since there are no pounds in Italy, we ended up with a 44 pound turkey (a 20 kilo turkey).

Here are the legs and wings that had to be sawed off at the butcher's and cooked in a separate oven:

Green Bean Casserole - This dish was a staple for Ryan when he was younger (and for most of America, he claims). For those of you not familiar with it, it's made with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup and canned green beans and it's topped with French's Fried Onions. Four years ago, I actually found Campbell's Cream of Mushroom in the Cooperativa here. It cost 3.90 euro which, at the time, was equivalent to FIVE DOLLARS AND SIXTEEN CENTS, which is outrageous for a can of soup, especially when you need to buy five cans. It was the most expensive green bean casserole ever made. Since then, I've bought the Cooperativa completely out of Campbell's and they haven't re-stocked which means that we have to make our own...slightly more time consuming (not what you need on Thanksgiving morning) but MUCH cheaper (and probably healthier).

Cranberry Sauce -  Obviously there is no Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce in Italy or any surrounding country. There aren't even cranberries in Italy. But! There are in Austria. To make cranberry sauce, you must drive an hour away to one specific grocery store in Austria that has cranberries, drive an hour home, and then spend another hour making the sauce. Again, the most expensive and time consuming cranberry sauce ever made.

Dessert - My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is pecan pie....but there are also no pecans in Italy, so that's out. Instead, I bring canned pumpkin with me when we come in September and I usually make this pumpkin cheesecake. The crust calls for graham cracker crumbs - but there are also no graham crackers in Italy - so I use Austrian butter cookies instead. Good thing Austria is so close.

Leftovers -  Arguably one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Our refrigerator is a quarter of the size of the smallest American refrigerator which causes a problem when you have a 44 pound turkey to refrigerate. However, Italians have it figured out that if you have a tiny refrigerator, you need a big balcony. We always box up our leftovers and put them outside, then bring them in when we want to eat them.

And if you think you have a lot of dishes after Thanksgiving dinner....just imagine having to do them in a sink this size:

Here was the aftermath from this year:

We managed to pull it off though and we're still smiling! So, have a happy Thanksgiving and a nice long weekend and we'll be back in December!

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