Russian Thanksgiving Dinner – Mystery Ingredients

 

 

Living for a year in Siberia was bound to results in a few laughs. There was no funnier time than my effort to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The Set Up

As an American male, my idea of cooking was dropping by the local Chinese restaurant on my way home from work. We are talking about a person who considers cooking rice a culinary challenge of the highest order. This lack of skill came to the forefront while spending a year teaching at a university in the Siberian city of Chita.

Thanksgiving

Experiencing the Russian culture was one of my primary reasons for moving to Siberia. Experiencing the American culture was apparently one of the prime reasons the University hired me. These conflicting view points resulted in every Russian and American holiday being celebrated, even if it wouldn't have been otherwise.

As the end of November approached, I started getting questions about Thanksgiving. My Russian peers and students were particularly interested in the concept of Thanksgiving dinner. In turn, I started asking seemingly innocent food related questions and was pleased to learn most of the necessary food items were not available in the local market. This included turkeys, cranberries and so on. Then I made my mistake.

Since the ingredients weren't available, I began to mouth off about the injustice of missing Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, how I could cook a turkey. To bad everyone would miss out on it. The moral trifecta of justice, fate and karma rose up to put me in my place.

The uncle of someone’s brother was flying in from Moscow. If I created a list, he would buy everything and bring it on the flight.

I was in deep, deep trouble.

Reverting to the times of my youthful indiscretions, I immediately did what anyone in my situation would. I emailed my mother for help. The first response was, “Very funny. You’re going to cook?” After explaining the situation, I received a very long list of instructions written at a third grade level. “This is a knife” and so on…

Well, the magic day came and everything went shockingly well. The turkey tasted like turkey. The stuffing tasted like stuffing. Heck, the cranberries even came out red. Then it was time for the gravy.

In Siberia, you do not buy ingredients in pre-packaged bags. Instead, you buy everything in a clear plastic bag with no label. In theory, you should arrange everything at home so you know what  it is when it comes time to cook. Thus did the flour adventures again.

Cooking instructions were read. Turkey juices went into the pan. Instructions were read. Flour went into the pan. Instructions were read. Constant stirring was undertaken. Instructions were read. Water was added.

Feeling cocky, I then did a tasting sample and nearly choked. The gravy was incredibly salty and exceedingly chunky. I added more water, but there was no change. For the next 20 minutes, I kept adding water and stirring. The gravy just kept getting chunkier, tasted horrible and actually began to smoke!

After a while, one of my female students came into the kitchen to find out what was going on. She blanched as she tasted the gravy. We went through the instructions and I made a passing reference to my suspicion the flour might be bad.

She took one look at the flour and started laughing. Hysterically. She was laughing so hard she couldn’t tell me the reason in English and my Russian was pretty bad. She recovered after a few minutes and gave me the English translation.

I had grabbed the stuff used to paste over holes in the wall, not the flour. Put another way, I was making turkey drywall.

No wonder it was so chunky!

After the crowd left, I repaired a door knob hole in my bathroom. Thanksgiving lasted for months!

Food and Snack Ideas for Your Thanksgiving Party

When it comes to any party, including a Thanksgiving party, food and snacks are important. That is why you may be trying to decide which food and snacks, you should have at your next Thanksgiving party. As you will likely see, you have an unlimited number of different options. 

Before you can begin to examine popular food and snack ideas, it may be a good idea to examine the focus of your Thanksgiving party. This may make it easier for you to decide on a particular food or snack. In most cases, you will want to try and tailor your food to the type of party that you are having. For instance, if you planning a kids’ only Thanksgiving party, it may be a good idea to have a collection of finger foods or other age appropriate snacks on hand. In addition to ensuring that your guests will enjoy your food, choosing the right type of food and snacks may make it easier for you to plan for and prepare for your Thanksgiving party.

As previously mentioned, if you are having a kid only Thanksgiving party, it may be a good idea to have kid friendly snacks on hand. These snacks may include chips, pretzels, cheese and crackers, pudding, or a veggie tray, and so on. If you are planning on having an all ages Thanksgiving party, a party where both adults and children will be present, it may be ideal to have a collection of common foods on hand; foods that will likely appeal to all ages. These snacks, as mentioned above, many include cookies, cheese and crackers, and vegetable snacks.

If you have decided on a formal Thanksgiving party, you will likely want to your party snacks to mirror the theme of you party. This means that you may want to purchase or make more elegant party snacks. These types of party snacks typically include vegetable trays and seafood. In addition to snacks, there is also a good chance that your formal Thanksgiving party will include a formal Thanksgiving dinner. If this is the case, you will need to purchase more than just snacks. You will need to purchase the main course, such as a turkey, as well as side dishes, which may include potatoes, cranberries, and a salad.

It is also important to examine the drinks that you will have at your Thanksgiving party. You will need to decide right away whether or not you want to serve alcohol at your Thanksgiving party. If you are hosting a causal Thanksgiving party or a formal Thanksgiving party, where adults will be present, alcoholic beverage may be ideal. Despite the fact that many party guests expect to see alcohol at a party, you do not have to serve alcohol if you do not want to; the decision is yours to make.

Although it is important to examine the types of foods, snacks, and drinks you would like to have at your Thanksgiving party, it may also be a good idea to examine when and where you will buy your items. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, you will find that many retail stores, namely grocery stores, place popular Thanksgiving food and snacks on sale. Waiting until this time to purchase you party food, snacks, and drinks may make it so you have can everything that you want, but at an affordable price.

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