November 28, 2008

Pumpkin Pieless: A Scottish Thanksgiving

Just because I’m living in a foreign country that doesn’t sell pumpkin pie filling, is no excuse to skip one of my most beloved holidays! First there’s no candy corn for Halloween and now there’s no pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. (Well technically there is no Thanksgiving at all). But what’s next, no candy canes for Christmas? (There actually aren’t any candy canes here either, I’m starting to depress myself).  

Rachel and I have perfected the art of Crusting a Pie

So we had a pumpkin-pieless Thanksgiving… but Rachel and I baked three delicious apple crumble pies, and two amazing pecan pies to make up for it! It is my first Thanksgiving away from my family, and the first Thanksgiving that I cooked! On the blessed day, we had four ovens going at once. We were moving from one floor to the next, from one building to the other, from mine and Laura’s flat to Rachel’s to Leigh’s to the boy’s... It was non-stop cooking from 1pm right up until the minute we started eating at 8pm. I helped to prepare two 5.6kg turkeys (roughly 12lbs) for the 23 people who attended our Mylne’s Court Thanksgiving dinner. One bird took up the entire mini fridge that Laura and I share. We also have pretty small ovens here that heat from the sides, instead of all around, so we were nervous about cooking. But save for an exploration of bird carcass caverns for a rogue blood bag, everything went pretty smoothly. One turkey even danced the Can-Can in a cascading fountain (aka Laura wiggled his legs in the sink as she washed him).

Laura and I had our own unorthodox cooking methods

We literally put our blood, sweat, and tears into cooking those two birds: sweat from running back and forth to Tesco and Morrisons to get more groceries and ingredients, tears from laughing so hard that I cried after Laura’s “not-so-PG” turkey comment, and blood from the plate breaking in half and slicing Rachel’s hand after the extreme temperature change from cold to hot as she washed it.

Bringing the turkeys downstairs to the "Dining Room" 
(aka the boys' common room)

The dinner itself was incredibly fun and incredibly crazy. We packed 23 people into the boy’s common room, and once you sat down in your chair, you were trapped in place. As soon as we placed the turkey on the table it was a free-for-all. You literally had to yell, grab, and fight for your food. It can only be described as claustrophobic chaos. I loved every minute of it, but that’s probably because I only stayed in the room for like 20 minutes. One more minute and I probably would have either passed out or freaked out. But it felt like Thanksgiving, because I spent all day preparing food and getting in a T-Day mood with my close friends. 
Thanksgiving dinner for 23, 
I can't even fit the entire table in frame!

To unwind after a long, hectic day, Rachel, Laura, and I took a stroll down The Mound to Princes St. to see all of the Christmas lights. We had our own giant tree on The Mound, right behind our dorm. It made me incredibly happy! It was so late that the carnival on Princes St. was already closed down for the night, and all of the lights were turned off. But we walked past all the strings of blue fairy lights on the trees that lined Princes St. (they call Christmas lights “fairy lights” here – gotta love it!). Then we curled up in sweats and blankets and watched “The Holiday”. Overall, it was a great Thanksgiving… and I cooked… two big turkeys… and baked five pies! I’m pretty impressed with myself.

Our tree on The Mound

Rachel and me

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