Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanksgiving in Madrid // el Día de Acción de Gracias en Madrid

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I wrote a little post on Thanksgiving about Thanksgiving in Spain and some things I´m thankful for (yes, I know... realll cheesy)... and of course I forgot to hit publish. Go figure. So here it is, over a week late, an update on my first Thanksgiving away from home.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for two reasons: one, I love my family, and two, I love food, especially when my grandma and mom make it for me. Seeing as I´m 9 hours and thousands of miles away from home and my family, my Thanksgiving was a little different this year. Since we couldn´t be with our families, some friends and I hosted a little Thanksgiving feast to celebrate.

Well, let´s just say I have a whole new level of respect for my grandma and mom, who know how to host one hell of a Thanksgiving dinner. A few days before Thanskgiving, a couple friends decided to host a dinner at their house. What we thought was going to be a small dinner with 4 or 5 people turned into a 12 person gathering with both Spaniards and Americans. What follows is the story of how I singlehandedly almost ruined Thanksgiving....

I stupidly offered to buy the turkey... and go figure, that was a FAIL. I´m going to assume you are all aware that Thanksgiving is an American holiday and isn´t celebrated in other countries, so it shouldn´t come as a suprise that whole turkeys are a bit harder to come by. In Spain, you have to order a turkey a few days in advance from a polleria, aka a poultry store. A couple days before Thanksgiving I tried going to a couple places and none of them were able to get turkeys for me. I didn´t have the energy to go all over Madrid searching for a turkey last minute, so we settled on roasting a chicken. On Thursday I realized that we didn´t really have enough oven space to spend hours roasting the chickens and I heard that Mercadona had roasted chickens for 5 euros, so I waited until 8pm Thursday night to buy them. Of course, when I get to Mercadona I find that what I thought were going to be warm, rotisserie style chickens are actually cold, shrink-wrapped pre-cooked chickens. So I kinda started freaking out, and I called my friends to warn them that our main dish was going to be a little sketchy. Lucky for me, they were understanding... it is Spain, after all... you´ve gotta go with the flow!

So if you think that eating pre-cooked, packaged chicken for Thanksgiving is bad, you haven´t heard anything yet. Wednesday night, I realized that nobody was signed up to bring gravy. You can´t have Thanksgiving without gravy, that´s just wrong... Of course, I have no clue where to find gravy and I didn´t have time to go to an American store, so I decided I would buy it at the KFC in Sol and then put it in a bowl so nobody would know. So I go to KFC, order a thing of overpriced gravy, get a realllly strange look from the cashier, and then hurry along to my friends´place. As if showing up with KFC gravy isn´t bad enough, I open the already small container to see that it was literally only a quarter full. Hahahhaha, I die.

As you can imagine, I am a little frazzled at this point and I still need to deal with these stupid little chickens. Without thinking, I just sort of threw them from the package to the oven rack without draining the juices or lining the drip pan. What resulted was a burning smell, a kitchen full of steam, and poor Christina freaking out that I was burning the place down. We eventually got it sorted out and finished the chickens.

The good news: the kitchen didn´t burn down, we got the food on the table before midnight, and those stupid little chickens are actually really, really good. So good that nobody seemed to care that we weren´t eating turkey. In fact, all of the food was really, really good. We also had tortilla and olives (thanks to our Spanish guests!), mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, sweet potatoes with pinapple and marshmellows, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and of course plenty of wine. Okay, so maybe we were missing stuffing, cranberry sauce, and legit gravy... but it still felt like a proper Thanksgiving meal!

Our "turkey"... nom nom nom.

I feel so lucky to have shared my Thanksgiving with a great group of people. It was so cool that there were two languages being spoken at the table and we were getting to share some of our culture with Spaniards. During the meal we went around the table and shared what we are thankful for. I am thankful for so much this year: family, old friends, new friends, living in Madrid, new experiences, challenges. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of it! Here are a couple pictures from our meal:

Meal time... por fin!

Happy Friendsgiving, y'all!

Un besito!


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like it worked out just fine. Glad you and the group were able to celebrate.