Friday, November 27, 2009

A Jordanian Thanksgiving

In honor of the glorious American tradition of eating until you make yourself sick, Heather and I decided to host a Thanksgiving Dinner in our apartment six days after moving in.

In the days before the big event, we spent cleaning up the apartment and buying various necessities, such as serving dishes, lamps, a turkey, etc. I was to make the turkey, the stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie. Heather was going to make green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole.

The night before the big event, I set about making the two pies with ingredients that my terrific mother sent me from the states. Tom the turkey hung out with me in the sink. We bonded.

The next morning, I got up at 10:30 a.m. to make the stuffing and stuff Tom. I expertly crammed bread, onion and celery into Tom and put the raw turkey in a serving dish. I then walked down the streets of Jordan in my pajamas and carrying a raw turkey all the way to Lena’s house, where he would be cooked because he wouldn’t fit in our confectionary oven and Lena has an actual oven, even if it is a scary gas one. Tom was heavy.

While at Lena’s house, she told me Heather had called her this morning. Heather was sick with the flu and would not be participating in the festivities. Which meant I got to cook the entire meal myself. Lena volunteered to take over the sweet potato casserole.

I left Lena’s house and took a shower. Then Lena called me. Apparently in my absence, Tom had become anxious and was almost done cooking after only an hour. No good, especially when the dinner wasn’t until six. Lena graciously volunteered to babysit Tom all day. We turned the heat as low as we could and resolved to baste the crap out of him until dinner. Nothing in Jordan is ever simple.

I ran back to my house and started cooking. I cooked and cooked and, and just for fun, cooked some more, straight up until 5:30 p.m. Then I went to pick up Tom. If I thought Tom was heavy on the way down, his juicy, stuffed body was unbearable on the way up. I had to stop twice to rest and got many lovely stares along the way. I also nearly slopped boiling hot turkey juices down myself. Fun times. Fun times.

When, arms shaking from exhaustion and back caked with sweat, I arrived at my apartment, I finished all the rest of the cooking before the guests arrived, with the exception of the biscuits, which I asked my male Arabic friend to help me with. He promptly misread the mixing instructions, used the entire box of Bisquick, and then got the biscuits stuck to the aluminum foil he was cooking them on. We did not eat biscuits for dinner that night.

But we had enough wine and other good food to make up for it. And carrying Tom Turkey up and now was totally worth it. He was delicious. A good time was had by all. It would have been better had Heather been able to join.

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