This past Friday night me and a few friends hosted our first Thanksgiving Shabbat dinner.
I ordered the Turkey Tuesday night – and I had to order in kilos! 7 kilos = 16 pound bird. I was kinda worried it wouldnt fit into my oven.
Wednesday night my friend took the bus to Rishon L’Tzion where I work and is close to 2 huge cheap supermarkets. We spent a good 2 hours buying all the ingredients for all the dishes. The deal was we would collectively buy the groceries and distribute the ingredients to each person who was making a dish. We came back to Tel Aviv at 10:30pm and dumped all the groceries and then I had to go park the car.
Now seeing as the car I was driving didnt have a resident sticker, I had to find parking. The issue wasnt the parking lots but that I needed to park it from Wednesday -Sunday and I didnt want to spend money on parking.
Luckily there is a lot 8 minutes away by bus that is free so I parked it there and hopped on a bus home. Then the issue become – how do I unpack all these groceries into my little itty bitty fridge?
I stuffed the fridge and crawled into bed. I was past exhaustion.
Thursday I relaxed and enjoyed a real Thanksgiving. Friends, food, turkey and of course football.
Friday I woke up early and picked up the turkey at 9am. Then the game of – how do I fit the 7 kilo (16 pound) bird into my already stuffed fridge. Suffice to say, I made it work.
Channah woke up and baked her cakes (for her delicious Spiced Pumpkin Trifle) and we headed out for brunch with the girls.
We came back and started prepping for a full day of cooking. Now you have to picture two of us in our little kitchen trying to cook and not get in the way of each other. I’d say we managed pretty damn well. There was no food throwing or worse, knife throwing. We just kept dancing around each other.
It was my responsibility to cook the turkey. I had never cooked a turkey on my own before. Ever. I grabbed a bowl and mixed olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper and some chopped cilantro and started stuffing the spices under the skin of the turkey then rubbing it all over the skin. Stuck and onion and an apple inside the bird to capture the grease, double wrapped it and stuck it in the oven.
Phew. The hard part was over. The bird was in the oven. Next it was time to cook everything else. I made cranberry sauce, sweet mashed potatoes with maple syrup, grilled brussel sprouts. Channah made two different kinds of stuffing. One w/ chorizo sausages in it (yum yum) and cranberry crumble.
With only 40 minutes left for the bird to cook, we took it out and placed the stuffing in the bird. Channah’s mom had a brilliant idea to wrap the stuffing in baking sheets to keep the grease out but not the flavor of the turkey.
Back in went the turkey for the rest of the time. Ding Ding .. it was time to take it out, flip it and let the top of it get a bit crispy. That was an ordeal. It took both of us to try to turn the heavy bird without burning ourselves (it did just come out of the oven).
Grease went e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. But there was no time to clean. We had to bring over all the food we made plus all the wine and beverages were at ours.
Did I share with you that the meal was being hosted at our friends house? We had to shelp all the food and beverages over to the hosting house. So we packed up all the cooked food and drinks and took a joy ride over to dump the food.
Then we came back. I took the bird out of the oven to cool down and to make a gravy whilst Channah hopped into the shower. Then I wrapped up the bird, gravy and stuffing so I wouldnt have to do it after I showered and got all clean. Yeah, it was messy.
And then we were ready to head out. But you know how you can never find a cab when you need one? Imagine needing a cab when carrying a 16 pound turkey. At some point Channah trudged up the street to a busier corner and hailed us a cab and we were on our way.
The bird had arrived.
We dumped the bird in the kitchen and ran to pour ourselves a much deserved and needed glass of red wine to relax.
The cooking was done, the food had been delivered and the other guests that made dishes had arrived and now it was time to eat.
Channah carved the turkey – she did a phenomenal job. There was so much turkey we didnt need to finish carving the entire bird. Some of the boys got a bit hungry and started filling up their plates with the food on the buffet until our hosts shoo’ed them away and said not until the bird is out.
TA DA! The turkey was now on the table. And the 16 guests swarmed the buffet piling their plates with the food.
And they went back for seconds and thirds. And there was still leftovers.
Silly me asked Channah on our way back from the food run if we had made enough food. She laughed at me and said are you crazy? Of course we did but I wasnt totally convinced.
To see pictures from our feast, check out my Thanksgiving Shabbat pictures here