1. When living in countries who are affiliated with Queen Elizabeth and have very English lifestyles, celebrating the beginning of America isn't exactly on the top of their to-do list. To some, we were just a bunch of hungry Americans foolishly paying, 80 dollars for a Turkey.
2. Even though I'm all for catching the spirit of the season and splurging on your family a bit over the holidays, but paying that much for a Turkey? I'll never have THAT much spirit. We cooked chickens and called them Gourmet Midget Turkeys.
3. While America spends November having cold or snowy weather - On the other side of the world the Aussie's and New Zealander,s are welcoming warm days at the beach. I had no desire to spend an entire day cooking in a house with no air conditioning just to serve my hot and sweaty family a fancy hot meal. We usually spent Thanksgiving at the beach. (*remind me to tell you sometime about how odd it is to celebrate the fourth of July with coats and scarfs on. So weird.)
4. I dont think our family went a single week, in the entire 7 years we lived overseas, without at least one dinner invitation. It was during those first few years that I realized it doesn't matter what kind of food is served - it's who we were with that mades my holidays perfect.
For these reasons, and many more, I embraced a much more forgiving Thanksgiving menu. In fact, one year we spent Thanksgiving day with our Maori friends. We played games and laughed for hours while our meal was wrapped in huge leaves, buried and cooking in the back yard. It was a Thanksgiving Hangi...and it was Delicious!
This year, Thanksgiving dinner was going to be a bit tricky because we recently moved and everything I needed to cook such a grand meal was buried somewhere in our storage unit. Maybe if the storage unit had stayed organized I would have been more motivated to spend the time and effort searching through each box. But it was far from organized. What began as mapped out system with everything in its place - now looks like "the room of requirement" from Harry Potter. It could take weeks to find what I needed! I needed a non-traditional plan for our dinner.
Plan B - go out and buy what we needed. It didn't take long to decide against purchasing items I already own. What to do?
Plan C formed last Friday when I was walking by the deli at the grocery store. Something smelled wonderful. The lady in the deli handed me a little plate with a mini turkey dinner sampler. I ate while she explained that I could order Harmon's Thanksgiving dinner already cooked and ready for me to pick up Thanksgiving day for around a hundred dollars.
Plan C - let someone else do all the work. Plan C was to spend the time normally spent in the kitchen, with my kids instead. Because of conflicting schedules, there would be only a couple of hours where my entire family could be together so, we went with it. Plan C would be worth every penny.
Our scheduled pick up time was 2:00pm. My husband and I stood in line with the other customers waiting to pick up their food. For about half an hour we all watched the complete chaos behind the counter at the deli. It was so bad, we started playing a game to pass the time. It was called, "guess who is in charge" and none of us won because we hadn't a clue. Time was wasting and no one in line was very happy. It was almost 3pm when finally we were all finally told that the delay was the Turkeys. The kid in the white apron said it was taking longer because they were waiting for the Turkeys to finish cooking. We were told it would be another hours. This was not good news. My husband took me home to finish getting ready for our guests and the he went back to the store. Saying I was stressed out is putting it mildly.
It was almost 4pm when my husband walked into the kitchen, having finally picked up our order. At 4:05 I discovered the pies were missing. At 4:06 I said a bad word.
At 4:25pm my husband returned from his THIRD trip holding 3 pies, but not the flavors I ordered. I said another bad word.
4:30 - family arrived.
4:35 - lifted the turkey out of the box, noticed more than half the bird was white instead of golden brown & the pop-up timer had not popped. I used my outdoor voice, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" This could not be happening.... Perhaps it was an optical illusion..... I grabbed a knife and my husband grabbed hold of the leg and pulled. The leg just kind of bounced back. I cut, saw raw turkey.
4:39 - said two bad words in one sentence.
We called the store. They were closed. We were instructed to come back in the morning.
On Thanksgiving day I took my kids to Del Taco. Can you imagine that first Thanksgiving Day with the pilgrims and the native Americans sitting around a table full of nachos and bean burrito's? Can you picture that scene in your mind? Well, freaking I can!
Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving.
10:00am. Talked to Dave, the Harmon's store manager on duty. Dave was nice. He apologized profusely. I told him it was a good thing the store closed early the night before because I was one seriously upset Pilgrim. I felt bad for Dave. He hadn't caused the mess, he had just arrived for work, heard what happened to the 2pm customers and then spent the morning dealing all the other unhappy turkey recipients as they trickled into the store. I asked Dave if he knew why on earth anyone would sell an obviously uncooked turkey, especially after making us all wait almost two hours past the pick up time? He had no idea. I felt like I had completely missed Thanksgiving.
10:20am - Walked out of the store having been refunded a bit more than I paid. I'll be cooking my own turkey next year even if I have to wrap it in leaves, bury it in a pit in the back yard and cover it with hot coals.
Thanksgiving 2012 - Not exactly a picture perfect dinner but definitely memorable.