OMAK – The Chronicle put out a call last week for readers to submit Thanksgiving Day cooking stories – from disasters to memorable occasions.
We didn’t know what to expect. Years ago, a similar call brought stories about giblet bags left in the bird during roasting and one errant pup who stole the whole turkey and buried it in the yard. The fowl – by that time foul – was not found until spring.
Readers came through again, this time with some charming stories about good times with friends and family.
Friendsgiving in Madrid
This story came from Mindy Sparks, Omak.
“I hosted Friendsgiving in my tiny apartment in Madrid in 2015. I was teaching at the American school at that time. I invited some American friends I had made that were also living and working in Madrid.
“I provided the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and the pumpkin pie. My friends brought the wine and some other favorite side dishes.
“The first adventure was finding a turkey. Typically, turkeys won’t show up in the grocery stores until December in Spain. I went to my local butcher shop and they special ordered the turkey for me, which they nicknamed ‘Carlos’ the turkey. He arrived fresh and had to be cut and prepared there at the shop.
“I brought him home to find I would be plucking out feathers for a while as those small ones weren’t all out and I had never done this before. I googled ‘how to prepare a fresh turkey’ many times.
“The second adventure was after the meal had been prepared and my friends and I ate, I discovered that the drippings from the turkey had dripped out of the pan and had coated the entire kitchen floor with a solid gelish goo form. My friends and I got paper towels and cleaned it all up, but it took quite a while.
“Once clean, my friend who had made her way through a whole bottle of rioja managed to drop her glass and it shattered, along with red wine splashing all over the white wall. We quickly washed up the wall and swept up the glass.
“Laughing at all the hysterics that had already taken place, we relaxed, poured some more wine and continued to enjoy each other’s company when all of a sudden my cat, Sprinkles, walked into the kitchen, found my friend’s open purse, and then promptly peed in it. This, of course, was mortifying for me as she hadn’t done anything like this before.
“My friend was quite understanding and I apologized and washed her purse. We continued on for another hour or so and our eventful friendsgiving came to a close.
“I look back and laugh as it will probably always be my most memorable Thanksgiving of all. I was very thankful for a fun American culture holiday in a foreign land.”
A near disaster
The second story comes from Jessica Blake, Okanogan.
“My story is one of a near-miss disaster – Thanksgiving 2018. My husband and I typically host Thanksgiving for his large family (up to 30 people) every year and we usually make the turkey and then assign all the side dishes to various family members.
“For some reason last year, I was feeling energetic and decided I would make the entire meal on my own – turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, candied yams, stuffing, pies - the works. I’m a planner, so I made my lists of items that needed to be done and the day when I needed to complete them, from a week ahead of time to a couple days and so on.
“I always bring out the fine china and silverware set, and fold cloth napkins in cute little shapes – sometimes a Christmas tree, or a flower, maybe a turkey. Tables are set beautifully with the china and napkins and, of course, centerpieces and it’s always very festive.
“Cue the disaster – I got the flu the day before the big event. Down-and-out, hit-me-hard flu – and the day before is when I planned most of my prep work. My husband, Michael, has a couple things he can cook, (mainly mac and cheese and eggs), but it’s not his strength.
“Thankfully for me, one of his major strengths is taking care of me and helping me with anything I ask of him – and this was a big ask. So he pulled the couch around so I could lay down in the living room and be able to see and direct him while he worked away in the kitchen.
“I instructed him on all the things that needed to be done and he did amazingly well. He got everything prepped that day and since I was sick the next day as well, he finished off the meal preparation on Thanksgiving Day.
“Everything wasn’t as perfect as I would have liked, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. So last year, we had a great Thanksgiving dinner, but no festive table settings – just plates in a stack and grab your own silverware. But most importantly, the family was together and we all had a great time.”