Thanksgiving in IrelandDublin-TCD, Fall 2009

It’s been quite a productive weekend.  I know it’s a big weekend in the States, with Thanksgiving and Black Friday and the traditional Christmas decorating happening sometime this weekend.  Don’t think that just because I’m over here, I’ve forgotten any of these traditions – quite the opposite in fact.  I managed to celebrate all of these great American traditions, despite their absence in Irish culture.  Details of each will come in installments – small bites for those of you with short attention spans.

First, for Thanksgiving, we decided to attempt to cook our own meal.  Justine was with her friends horseback riding in the morning and had asked if I would be around to throw the chicken in the oven if they weren’t back in time.  Yes, I would be happy to do that.  We bought a whole chicken because turkey generally isn’t available until Christmastime and the ones that were available were way out of our 11 euros a day budget (we’re at the tail end of the semester, and so the tail end of the funds!).  I went to the IES pie party that I mentioned earlier and ate a delicious piece of pumpkin pie (made by an American, the IES staff was courteous enough to make sure of that!), not as good as Dad’s but good enough.    I returned home and sure enough Justine and her crew were late returning from their horseback trek.  ”Jess will you throw the chicken in the oven, at 350 F, just put it in the pan with some oil.”  Alright, here goes nothing.  I took the wrapping off the chicken and put it in the pan.  I rubbed some oil on it, just like Justine had instructed and then had to resort to Google to check the F to C conversion.  While I was searching I thought it might be best to also look up “how to roast a chicken.”  I certainly was not going to be the cause of a failed Thanksgiving bird.  The instructions were more of a crutch, turns out I had it pretty much under control.  Per ehow.com’s suggestion, I buttered the bird in addition to the oil and salted and peppered it as well.  (Keep in mind I’m alone in the apartment in festive holiday attire with Christmas music blaring from my laptop).  Then I came across instruction 4.  Remove the giblets.  Ok, I thought, I’ve heard of these before in the turkey.  Well I looked and looked for those giblets and after tugging on what turned out to be the neck for a length of time, determined my chicken was gibletless.  All this buttering and seasoning and giblet searching allowed enough time for the oven to heat up and in went the bird.  Two and a half hours, a few bastings, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls later and  and viola!  Our first Thanksgiving meal and the table setting paints the perfect picture of our simple lifestyle here.  We served the corn from cereal bowls.  Drank our wine from confiscated pint glasses.  Scooped the mashed potatoes from a tupperware container.  Scraped butter straight from the stick still in its wrapper.  Laughed. Shared traditions.  Basked in our accomplishment.  And ate.

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