Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to Make Thanksgiving Dinner Without an Oven

I love Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday. I have such great memories of spending it at my aunt's house, watching football while the yummy cooking smells rolled in from the kitchen, me and my cousin trying to break up fights between my brother and sister, getting stuck on the Pennsylvania turnpike for hours in snowstorms, turkey jigglers, my aunt's collection of turkey household objects, the whole family in an over-eating induced stupor on the couch after dinner watching Home Alone ... I really like the idea of a day where we have to think about what we're grateful for in our lives, instead of our usual routine of complaints and dissatisfaction.

And yet I find myself in France and not celebrating Thanksgiving with any Americans this year due to various scheduling problems (thanks SNCF). So I was determined to try to do something Thankgiving-y for myself, despite my very limited cooking implements: one electric burner, a microwave, and a refrigerator. I wasn't terribly hopeful of finding anything really typically Thanksgiving, until I saw cranberries at Monoprix last week! So I got my mom's recipe for cranberry sauce and headed back on Monday to pick up the cranberries....

...Except there were no cranberries, they were sold out! I panicked, cursing the horrible Frenchies who for whatever reason had decided to eat MY cranberries, and had to hope that they would be replaced the next day. No dice on Tuesday, and when there still weren't any cranberries yesterday I almost cried. But then, today, a Thanksgiving miracle! Cranberries had returned! So I grabbed them quickly before someone could take them out from under my nose (clearly they're a popular item), then headed over to the meat section to see what I could do about finding some already cooked turkey. The whole no oven thing is complicated when you have to make turkey in a country that doesn't really eat turkey. I don't know why they aren't more into the turkey, it's a delicious bird. I found this "roasted cooked turkey" (it was that or fried turkey patties, gross), and after a consultation with my friendly Monoprix butcher, I decided that it was a loaf of turkey deli meat that I could slice and warm in the microwave.

So I ended up with a huge tupperware container full of cranberry sauce, warm turkey deli meat, and a baked potato. I was too hungry to wait for a vegetable to be cooked and ready to eat! The one burner thing makes cooking a rather long process if you want to get into the main course plus side dish thing, and cranberries are a fruit anyway, so I got some fiber and vitamins. I have to say, it wasn't a half bad substitute for Thanksgiving and I am very thankful for that meal. I've been congratulating myself on it all night long, especially the cranberry sauce! I've never made it before and I'm known to really screw things up the first time I try to make them (kind of like how I always get lost the first time I go somewhere). Luckily it turned out okay, and tomorrow I can have the second best part of Thanksgiving food: leftover turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches the next day!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monique said...

same to you!! glad it worked out :)

Andromeda said...

I think if I had looked at momoprix I would have found berries, it seems like thats where people get them.
Home Alone!! How I miss it! It's like, the only way I knew Christmas was really coming. Totally renting it this weekend :-)

Leah said...

Good job! Not even a greve could hold you back from Turkey Day!! I also like cranberry sauce, but I just bought mine at Monoprix...I should actually try to make it myself some time. Glad it worked out for you!

Ksam said...

Hey, the French actually eat a ton of turkey - you just don't see any whole birds in the stores at this time of year since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving (all the birds are readied for Christmas instead). Plus, they tend to prefer smaller birds for every day cooking. But if you look in the supermarket, there's always tons of turkey cutlets and turkey breast.

PS. Never fear if there's a cranberry shortage in the future - Picard carries them year round!!

au soleil levant said...

Yeah, I guess my problem is that I couldn't get anything that required being cooked in an oven. I think I kept having dreams of finding ready-cooked turkey breasts like we'd be able to find in the States for Thanksgiving. Good tip about Picard, thanks!