Ron used to have a connection through the museum docent program who could get us a turkey at the US Embassy commissary. Her husband was transferred and along with it, our turkey connection. For US readers who can find a freezer case stocked with Butterball or no name turkeys year round in the grocer’s meat department, it may seem strange. Here in Hungary, getting a whole turkey is similar to the proverbial hen’s teeth.
One of my journalism students is doing her internship covering food news for an English language portal, so I put her on the scent for a whole turkey to roast for Thanksgiving. A week later, she responded with the fact that all of the poultry butchers in the Great Market receive their turkeys whole and cut them themselves before putting them out for sale. This may have been a no brainer for a Hungarian speaker, but I was not satisfied with the response, so pushed her further. I think the tears were the persuading factor.
She e-mailed me last week. She was by the Great Market, so stopped at a butcher. They are only getting 15-20 kilo turkeys in right now. If you don’t know the math, there are 2.2 pounds to a kilo. Those turkeys could be Thanksgiving Day floats in the Macy’s parade. Even after she promised to try to find us a reasonable turkey, I thanked her, but no thanks at the same time.
Thanksgiving is the holiday I miss the most not living in the US. I am a traditionalist when it comes to this holiday and want it to be as ‘authentic’ as possible in my terms of authenticity. In the US, after appetizers, the dinner started with cream of pumpkin soup, turkey, homemade chestnut stuffing, mashed potatoes, glazed yams with mini-marshmallows, stuffed mushrooms, a green vegetable, lots of gravy, and other fixings, followed by pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake (I loved making this), and another type of pie.
Our tradition was to always invite those who did not have family or friends close by to celebrate with and would otherwise be alone.
Each year here, it has been a hit or miss trying to find the ingredients needed. Pumpkin is the toughest. However, after posting it on our website, we now have three cans of pumpkin and two cans of evaporated milk. Pumpkin pie anyone?
For the rest, we broke down and ordered from the Marriott. On Thursday, they will deliver a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, glazed carrots, a bottle of wine, plus a pumpkin and walnut pie serving four to six, for $125.
Just to make it a holiday, I will supplement it with my baked artichoke dip for an appetizer, make my stuffed mushrooms, and another pie. It is not a holiday if you cannot smell it walking in the door.