Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day

A very happy Thanksgiving to you! The past few weeks we’ve been frequently asked one question: what do Italians do for Thanksgiving? The answer is nothing; it’s not a holiday here. We had decided, after much debating, to not make it a big all-out gluttony-fest in our home this year (and caught a lot of grief for that decision from my step-dad!).

Top Ten Reason for Not Making Turkey Today
10. Turkey is not commonly found in the markets except as breast filets
9. If I found a full turkey (or even a full bone-in breast), my oven is too small to accommodate the bird
8. I would have to buy a roasting pan (which would likely not fit into the oven)
7. I would have to buy a casserole dish for baking the dressing (I don’t like it stuffed into the carcass)
6. Friends had planned to come but had to postpone their trip. Other friends are out of town. It seemed frivolous to spend two days cooking all that food for just the two of us
5. Pumpkin needs to be purchased, cooked, mashed and then turned into a pie
4. We are living in a foreign country where this holiday doesn’t exist
3. We try to be thankful every day, not just on a prescribed holiday
2. I have a cold and feel rather cruddy; cooking a feast seemed like a chore
1. We live in Italy where one eats well every day!

So in the end we decided to “go local” and go out for lunch instead. But what providence! We sat in the restaurant waiting for the waiter to recite the daily menu choices and were astonished to hear him say “filetto di tacchino…” Huh? What’s that…turkey?! Today of all days! Naturally, seeing the signs in the menu we ordered the breast of turkey (which was sautéed in a light, white wine sauce along with artichoke quarters), a side plate of roasted potatoes, and toasted our compatriots at home with a slightly fizzy house white wine. We explained to the waiter that nearly every inhabitant of America would be dining on turkey today and he was rather amused at the irony of it being on offer this particular day in their restaurant. We ended up having an American Thanksgiving after all, with an Italian flavor.

But, of course, the whole point of the day is giving thanks to God for his love and all the blessings and opportunities he bestows.

This year I am particularly Thankful –
-For the provision, direction, and assistance given during our delays and bureaucratic problems to reach this dream
-For the past six months in Italy and all the incredible experiences we have had, the wonderful people we have met, and the history and culture we get to partake in
-For the family and friends who continue to stay in touch despite the physical distance
-For new friends who are so generous, caring, and patient with us foreigners
-For new opportunities to devote more time to writing (and to actually get paid for it!)
-For a wonderful husband who shares my dreams and is willing to take risks in order to live them out

Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

Wow! It sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I can completely relate to the difficulty of getting a whole turkey here. My family was happy with the chicken I baked instead! It does seem strange to celebrate this holiday here when no one else does... my husband still had to go to work, and my children had to go to school, and they weren't home until nearly 6pm. So we had a modified Thanksgiving. (I still want to give the boys continuity of the American holidays).
You have a very nice blog, hope you don't mind me stopping by.

GunnieK said...

I thought of you and Bryan as we drove through Bellview, Ohio to get to my in-laws near Massillon. I was pondering the kind of American holiday one has in Italy. THanks for answering my questions!

So great to know that this move has been abundantly wonderful for you.

Keep the messages coming!

Valerie said...

Ambra, Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving! Of course I don't mind you stopped by! Y'all come back! :)

Jayne, Next time you drive through Bellevue stop at Mom's; she'd love to see you (look for the model boats in the window). Stay in touch!

blueVicar said...

So glad that I found your story about Thanksgiving...I've put together a list of expatriate blogs with related posts...I collect stories of folks who live abroad!

There are many things for which we can be thankful, aren't there? And good food in Italy and France (I'm in Antibes) is a lot of them!

Meilleurs voeux!