Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving thoughts**

Thanksgiving's at my place this year and it will be my first time cooking Turkey. I'm stressed because people will be here eating my Turkey... oh and did I mention its the first time that I will make Turkey? I really really hope it comes out.. edible. I'm not asking for much. If its edible, I'll be pleased. Speaking of Turkey do any of you brine it? How do you put a brining Turkey in the fridge?

Growing up we never celeberated Thanksgiving. Not out of any personal conviction, it just wasn't a holiday my parents grew up with so they viewed it as a day steeped in tradition for Amriki's- not them. This changed Thanksgiving 1992. Hurricane Andrew had come and gone and the five of us were cooped up in a two bedroom apartment which smelled of wet dog. I remember sitting on cushions as me and my little brothers watched TV, moping, as our parents got ready to go for their daily stroll. I remember feeling quite sorry for myself.

I dont recall how it happened. Maybe we were watching a show of a big cozy family sitting down with happy faces to Thanksgiving dinner but for the first time I wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner too. Immediately my brothers and I got to work. We flung open all the cupboards, the pantry and the fridge as we scavenged to make our very first Thanksgiving Meal. I handled the toaster while my brothers rushed to set the table with mismatched plates and glasses. When my parents arrived, they were quite surprised to see three smiling "chefs" presenting them with Thanksgiving Dinner consisting of a medley of canned pineapples, buttered toast, chicken cold cuts, and a bowl of chickpeas. I can still remember my father's smile. It was our first Thanksgiving dinner together, and certainly the most unique, but it certainly was not our last.

This Thanksgiving there won't be any buttered toast. There won't be any chicken cold cuts and there certainly won't be any pineapples from a can. And I can handle all these changes. But the hardest part is not being able to see them. This Thursday as I mash the potatoes and prepare the stuffing they will be in my heart. Though many years have since passed, the best Thanksgiving still remains the Thanksgiving of 1992.

** Because this song captures the feeling better than a 1,000 words. How many of us get weepy listening to this song? *sigh* or is it just me?

11 comments:

Sean Carter said...

Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness...to forget all wories and just enjoy the quality time with your most loved ones....and hey since this year it's your first time cooking turkey i'll ask you to visit my Thanksgiving Blog soon where you can find some useful resources and suggestions....i'm sure things will turn just great...have a great Thanksgiving!!!!

mezba said...

Awww, sho shweet!

Turkey eh? I have had it only one time and it didn't taste right. Maybe I should now scare you and say if Turkey is not done right it can cause gastronomic salmonella poisoning. Nah I am just kidding, I am sure you will cook up a proper stuffing.

PS the number of Muslims in our area is so high our local Sobey's now has halal turkey during Thanksgiving (which in Canada is near Halloween).

mystic-soul said...

Have you ever seen Mr. Bean's turkey preparation?...I doubt you will get that bad...lol

What about some desi achar/snacks with it?

Huda said...

That's such sad yet awesome story. Maybe you should serve some canned pineapples, just in remembrance. ;)

We do T-day every year mostly because one year Mansoor really wanted a turkey, so Ammi made one and invited some people over, and then she picked up a reputation for making a great turkey dinner, so it became a regular thing.

Here are some brining tips, and here too (that one courtesy of Alton Brown!). I'm sure your turkey will turn out great, insha'Allah!

Aisha said...

Sean thanks for the tip! :)

Mezba, we have halal turkeys here too. Do you guys celeberate it? your family?

Mystic, desi snacks?? No its going to be an Amriki thanksgiving. THough I am going to make some chicken tikka incase the turkey ends up being quite inedible!

Huda, thanks for the tips. Big question for you, I may just email you if I can find a minute later on but does Al Medina have halal Turkey that is prepared? I called yesterday and she said that their Turkeys are frozen and still have the neck on it and are not cleaned inside so we'd have to remove all the organs, etc. Ummmm. If that is the case then I'm going to go wth the Publix Turkey that I have on order and buy two whole chickens from Al Medina and season and back them.

Tee said...

I didn't know what song that was until I heard the opening guitar and I turned it off right away. Listening to that song is a sure way for me to get depressed - and then if I want to go the extra step and commit suicide I could go listen to "Everybody Hurts" by REM.

LOL.

For Thanksgiving we're going to my Mom's as usual so I'm just bringing some side dishes. Making a turkey can be intimidating. I saw a commercial last night though and thought this was AWESOME: Jenni-O Freezer to Oven Turkey. If I had to make the turkey I'd definitly get that. ROFL.

That is a cute story about your first Thanksgiving.

It's interesting how different cultures in the US handle Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law makes turkey but it isn't traditional American style. She cooks it in a tomato sauce like she usually does with chicken.

Even though my parents were born and raised here, my paternal grandparents were newer immigrants. One of my great grandmothers was from Russia. She passed a recipe on to my mother called knishes.

They are a commmon Jewish food, little potato filled squares of dough. Anyway, my Mom makes them every Thanksgiving b/c my Dad grew up with them and loves them. And now, my husband from El Salvador loves them, too. :)

William Smith said...

I made my first Thanksgiving turkey about ten years ago. Without knowing it, I actually cooked it upside down to my great distress. Not too worry, it turned out to be one of the most tender I have ever had, to this day.I had grown used to turkey being quite dry the way my mother made it. In any case, have a really great one and my best wishes that all turns out and goes well.

Cylinda said...

Such a touching story about your first Thanksgiving meal. Thanks for sharing, as always. Also love the song....doesn't make me weepie, but it always leaves me pensive and melancholy, much like this season. There's a place for that in all our lives, I figure.

Anyway, I always brine the turkey using Alton Brown's method, which some commentor above has already linked to at the FoodTV website. It works really well, as long as you have a clean & empty 5-gal paint bucket lying around.

Good luck w/the dinner, and have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Aisha said...

Tee, thanks for the advice. I am really sad but it looks like we may not have Turkey this thanksgiving. *sigh* I was REALLY looking forward to it too. Tee, that is so cool that your family has that tradition, I think its great how something that was once particular to one culture has over time grown to be appreciated in a more diverse world.

William, LOL @ the upside down turkey. I guess Turkey's are just a recipe for hilarity in some way or other. Im going to tyr to make turkey but things out of my control may prevent this.

Cylinda!! Thanks for commenting :)I'm glad I'm not the only one who ends up quite pensive at this time of the year. I wish I could get caught up in the carols and the holiday cheer and not be so pensive. Its funny b/c I never celebrated Christmas but still the Christmas season was always a time I looked forward to because everyone was so cheerful and the stores looked so pretty. Now it all kind of makes me sad. I think of the commercialism, those lonely during the holidays. Growing up really has made me a cynic. :( Thanks for the tip on brining. I am really praying I can get a turkey that comports to certain standards by the date.. I really want to do this Turkey thing.

mezba said...

Aisha,

No we don't celebrate it. My parents are still old school in these, I think I will celebrate it. It's not a religious holiday, just a cultural one.

Anonymous said...

you're right.. it is a lovely song.. brings back many memories ..both sad and bitter sweet for me.

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