We had our little mock Thanksgiving on Sunday. Saturday was spent shopping for the event; buying ingredients for dishes, buying dishes for the dishes, finding a turkey, etc. The turkey was bought at Wal*Mart – we had no other option, because to purchase a turkey from a butcher (I JUST remembered what the English word for that was...) it needs to be ordered 3-4 days in advance (which we didn’t have). So, per suggestion of the father of the girl I now tutor (more on that later), Wal*Mart was the winning provider of dead bird.
We started early Sunday morning, around 10:30. I was nervous about the turkey and wanted to start as early as possible to allow as much time to fix mistakes should they happen as possible. Kathy and I had a smashing time unwrapping our turkey, cutting off some funny flap of skin that was holding his legs together, removing a very frozen bag of giblets*, and naming him Reiner.
*In order to do this we decided Kathy should run hot water into Reiner’s stomach cavity in order to loosen up his bag-o-guts. Laugh or doubt all you want, but it worked.
For some reason Reiner’s heart and some other probably vital organ weren’t included in the bag-o-guts.
Reiner was then rubbed down with oil, stuck with a meat thermometer, and jammed lovingly into the toaster oven. I say with pride that 4 hours later Reiner came out a nice dark and golden brown color, smelling faintly of the honey/butter/paprika/salt glaze I thought would be fun to throw together and have Kathy baste him with. To break the rest of the day down, we danced, we sang, we cooked like we’ve (literally) never cooked before. Mashed potatoes (of which there were excess afterwards), classic green bean casserole with a twist per my mom’s suggestion (which, according to Sonia, people were obsessed with and saying, “I don’t know what that stuff with the beans and the chips is, but it’s GOOD!”), home made cornbread (Andi), wheat bread (Tina, the friend who leant Andi her kitchen), and wild rice dish per my dad’s recipe. Rice dish, which I spent late into the previous night starting and babysitting so as not to screw it up. Rice dish, that caused me a lot of nervousness and worry. Rice dish, that turned out AMAZING and that everyone liked. They didn’t expect it to be kind of sweet. They never do... heh heh heh...
Everyone who said they would show up showed up, plus one – that’s almost 20 people. Never in our lives have we had to cook that much food. I now have more respect for the old ladies who work in the kitchen at church, as well as any of my family members who has had to prepare a meal for many people. It’s an amazing feat. Dessert worked out, too. Andi had baked pumpkin pies and apple crisp, and Joanna helped her prepare whipped cream. Though, admittedly, it was kind of odd, because we were running back and forth cleaning things because we didn’t know what else to do. At our homes we usually talk, eat, talk, eat, sleep a bit, maybe eat a bit more, talk, then sleep. It’s very laid back. We don’t have anything like concerts or TV here for our guests, and we didn’t know if we should try to entertain them more or not. But everyone really liked it – the Thanks we got afterwards as people were leaving was genuine; they enjoyed themselves (free food in a warm room + wine and good company = who wouldn’t enjoy themselves?
It all brought about such good feelings – the turkey working out, the other foods worked out, we successfully organized and accomplished a many-people dinner party, and no one got sick. It only took moving to another country for a year and cooking a 13 lb. bird to figure this out. By the way, Reiner was a delicious turkey. Only problem we came across was that his back wasn’t cooked. It was still raw and somewhat bloody (we avoided those bits when we carved him up to serve). How to get around that, I don’t know. Unless at some point we were supposed to flip him, but I don’t think we were. It’s possible that the toaster oven we used doesn’t heat well from the bottom, or there was a setting we missed.
Our beloved Reiner, before and after.
Tutoring: If you want to feel like a total idiot but at the same time build up your German vocabulary for explaining things to other people, become a tutor for a grade school student. My new tutoring “job” is going well – the girl says that she’s understanding things (which is a good sign for me as well as her), and I get to occupy my free time somehow. It’s basically like revisiting my grammar lessons; I’m starting to have to explain to her why things work a certain way, and why, in some cases, even though people may say something one way, it doesn’t make it grammatically correct. I put into her lap the song we learned in high school German classes for verbs. I also told the mother about it, and hope that it will do some good. I don’t know what else to say about it. It’s a somewhat stressful thing to do, considering I’ve never done it before, but at the same time... At least the girl doesn’t think I’m scatterbrained. I learned the word for that (“schusslig”), and more or less accused her in a non-threatening or bitter manner of thinking I was, but she denied it. Being a 5th grader, her lying skills are probably not that well developed, so I’ll take her word for it.
I like earning money for laundry coins.