Three Thanksgivings I spent in Germany

Someone pulls a deep fried turkey from their fryer. We had a neighbor who did this, but he was from the South. People swear by it, but I'd pretty much only ever roast a Thanksgiving turkey. If you're going to try it, do it it outside.

Someone pulls a deep fried turkey from their fryer. When I was a kid, we had a neighbor who did this, but he was from the South. It is a way to get men involved in your party — I think guys like making things harder sometimes. People swear by it, but I’d pretty much only ever roast a Thanksgiving turkey. If you’re going to try it, obviously, do it it outside.

[ETA: typos]

Richard Armitage isn’t a American (yet?), although he did say that he liked “deep-fried turkey, Texan style.” So he may or may not be missing his Thanksgiving dinner and holiday festivity while he’s busy in Berlin. But, since he’s in Germany, I thought I’d write this year about three of my German Thanksgivings in the 1990s, spent in Göttingen, where I did my doctoral research.

Germans don’t have Thanksgiving, although even in the 1990s they were familiar with it because of the heavy U.S. military presence. They get the general idea, because a lot of people in rural areas still have some kind of religious Erntedankfest (thanks for the harvest), but like so many things in Germany, it’s a regional as opposed to a national thing. If I’d’ve lived near a U.S. military base, I’d have had it a lot easier — because you could buy everything you needed for the holiday in the PX, and you just had to find a friend who had a military I.D. and thus access to those stores. But Göttingen was in the British zone, so nothing doing. On the whole, between students from the University of California and disgruntled Fulbrighters, I met more than enough Americans during that phase of my life, and after a six-month period of acclimation to German eating and activity patterns (during which I lost, wow, 40 pounds), I really didn’t need any more U.S. in my life.

Except on Thanksgiving, when the thoughts of expat Americans turn to home, hearth, and turkey.

This is the store as it looks today. When I was a patron, it had a big sign in the window that said "Puten Tag." Yup.

This is the store as it looks today. When I was a patron, it had a big sign in the window that said “Puten Tag.” Yup.

NB: None of this would have been possible without the presence in town of a butcher / delicatessen with an extensive assortment of poultry products. This is a bit unusual in Germany, which is a meat-friendly place and where the flesh of choice is usually pork — and you can see from the picture that this shop features game in general. So yay for that shop in the Groner Straße. Even though I will now lampoon the turkey-buying experience in Göttingen, still, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Germany was a great place to spend Thanksgiving.

1995

Studentenwohnheim "forum," where I lived my first nine months or so in Göttingen.

Where I lived my first nine months or so in Göttingen.

The menu: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, jellied cranberries, Waldorf salad, peas, and pumpkin pie.

The guests: ten people — good friends from my research group and their partners.

Location: common room in a private dormitory, Brüder-Grimm-Allee 57. Oh, and: I always celebrated the holiday on the weekend after while in Germany. Workdays in the special collections library were too precious for any of us to waste.

I had only moved to Göttingen that September, but I’d had to make a trip back to the U.S. for a conference in October, at which point I’d bought two decisive ingredients — canned jellied cranberries and canned pumpkin — and imported them back into Germany with me. I also pilfered mom’s kitchen for the correct spices for the pie and brought them back in a baggie. Thank heavens, because at that point, one could not easily buy either cranberries or canned pumpkin (and this was before Internet sales had really taken off, which is how we’d solve that problem today). Obtaining sweet potatoes was also a pain — I bought them at Ewert, which at the time was the Göttingen store most likely to have any ingredient that didn’t occur regularly in German food (that where was I got cilantro and lemon grass and Mexican spice combinations for a long time, as well). They were gold-plated, so the dish was small, just enough for a taste for everyone!

Discoveries came in this round. First, I couldn’t figure out which kind of German shortening to use for the pie crust from the labels, but I found lard in every store, so I went with that — thus returning the feast to the historic origins of the Servetus family, and converting me for the duration of my stay in Germany to a lard crust baker. I’ve never had pie crusts set up and roll out so well as those, even if they were tref. Corn in Germany was only sold at that point in tiny little cans, and it was heavily sweetened — one was most likely to encounter it sprinkled on a salad or a pizza — so I went with peas instead. Normally I wouldn’t have served canned cranberries at a party, but the raw material was simply unavailable. In order to jazz it up a bit, I made a Waldorf salad, which doesn’t really belong with Thanksgiving for me, and sliced the cranberries into discs and put a spoonful of salad on each one.

Guest reactions: VERY enthusiastic. Several people brought flowers. Ex-SO (at that time “almost SO”) couldn’t be there, which disappointed me, but all the other invitees came, ate a first round very richly, and stayed well into the evening, playing the dormitory piano and chatting, and then hit the table again around midnight for a second round. Most had never had that kind of stuffing before and loved it, most had not had sweet potatoes before (I made them the way my mom did — cooked and mashed up with butter and salt — no marshmallow casserole in our family) and none had had pumpkin pie before (reactions mixed). Their only disappointment: I didn’t serve wine with the meal. Which had never occurred to me. My family drank milk or water at Thanksgiving, and I knew Germans wouldn’t want milk, so I went with water.

But the biggest discovery was the turkey. I had looked in the supermarkets, and at the time, at least, you couldn’t buy a frozen turkey. Someone told me about the poultry shop, so I went there. I’d discussed with my mom how big a turkey you needed for 9 people, and she said, thinking of how people eat at our family meals, probably a twenty-pounder. (Don’t laugh, Europeans. It’s hard to find a turkey in the U.S. that is much smaller than that, and yes, we do estimate 2-2.5 pounds of turkey per adult.) So I went to the store and said, Ich möchte einen Truthahn bestellen, neun kilo. The person behind the counter looked at me sharply and said, Echt? and I thought, What’s the big deal? and said, Ja, echt. She looked at me again, and said, ach, Amerikanerin, and then said, ich muß mal anrufen, ob ich das kriege, which I thought was odd, because why wouldn’t a poultry store be able to get a 20 pound turkey? and so I waited while she went in back. Eventually she came out again and said she would take the order and gave me an estimate of the cost (I don’t remember anymore what the price was, but I remember thinking it was a lot).

When I came to pick up the turkey, which I did the day before I planned to serve it, I got a few surprises. First, the lady said, Hier ist Ihre Pute, and I thought, what’s a Pute? Is that the same as a Truthahn? But I thought I’d better not complain — at least it was a roastable bird. (Ongoing issues with noun confusion were one of my biggest problems in speaking German over the years. The stories I could tell you about encounters in shops.) Second, it was fresh. It had never been frozen. I don’t know when they had butchered it. But I had never seen that before. Even my grandmothers, who had chickens on their farms and occasionally slaughtered one to roast, bought frozen turkeys. What a revelation — a turkey is an entirely different thing when it hasn’t been frozen, and those German Thanksgivings involved the tastiest turkeys I ever consumed.

But third: I got half a bird. Literally. I didn’t open the package in the store, but when I got it home, I discovered that I had a bird that had been bisected along its breastbone. I was really confused about how to roast it, too. If you lay it on its cut side, you lose all the juices, but if you lay it on its wing side, you don’t get the pretty skin. I went with the latter strategy. I sort of propped it up with potatoes in the pan, and then layered a level of stuffing on the top of it. It worked out okay — but I’ve never been as nervous about a turkey turning out as I was that year.

1996

My favorite place for produce in Göttingen. I bought a lot of asparagus there over the years.

My favorite place for produce in Göttingen. I bought a lot of asparagus there over the years.

The menu: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, real cranberry sauce and relish!, brussels sprouts and carrots, and pumpkin pie.

The guests: eight people — good friends from my research group and their partners. Smaller guest list as the available facility was smaller.

Location: Friend’s apartment in the Obere Maschstr.

Discoveries: Fruchthaus Schwieger. That year, they had bags of Ocean Spray cranberries in bags, just like at home (where I never would have bought a branded cranberry, but hey). I’d have been okay anyway, as that year, German friends had introduced me to Preiselbeere, a berry from the same genus, which would have been an acceptable substitute. But with three bags of berries, I made both cooked sauce for the turkey, and relish with an orange in it. An African store had opened in town, where I got lots of sweet potatoes at a great price. I had been back to the U.S. in the interval and used canned pumpkin again. Oh — and I had discovered the Bremer wine store, and had some very nice bottles of white with my poultry, thank you very much.

That year’s “turkey adventure”: The turkey from that store was so good that I definitely wanted to go back, and besides, they were the only game in town that I was aware of. I went in to order my turkey, and the woman recognized me, and said, Sie wieder! Wollnse noch mal so ne Riesenpute kaufen? (You again. Wanna buy such a giant turkey again?). Obviously, the previous year’s bisected turkey had remained in good memory. Well, I didn’t want another big one — fewer guests, and I had discovered that 500 g (a good pound) was plenty of turkey for a German guest. I didn’t want to spend ten days eating the leftovers again! I think I ordered a 4 kilo turkey, but I wanted to stuff it this time around, so I said, diesmal aber nicht durch die Mitte schneiden! Ich möchte einen ganzen Truthahn! and she said, bei der Größe ist das kein Problem, machen wir. The real surprise came when I told my friend whose kitchen I was using how long you roast a turkey. He wasn’t up for that, and he said, Du solltest einen Beutel verwenden. I said, A bag? Well, I hadn’t known it, but yeah, you can buy cellophane bags to roast a turkey in. That was the first time I ever did that. The turkey and stuffing were great, but the gravy was a disappointment and the bird didn’t look as good.

My memories: Then-SO was there for the first time and after his first plateful, took seconds, thirds, and fourths of stuffing. He was also an immediate convert to cranberries. I had a lot of sweet potatoes left because it turned out that my guests were just polite the previous year when they said they liked them. I think I put them in a soup later that week. And my friend Almuth, who had never seen a turkey drumstick, asked if she could have that piece because it looked so good. Well, I didn’t know that she’d never had one before. In my opinion, the drumstick is the worst part of a roast turkey. She started eating and I could tell she was disappointed and wouldn’t say anything because the canon of German manners prevents it in a situation like that, and also because Germans are dedicated plate cleaners. After about ten minutes of watching her struggle, I got up and went over to her and took her plate, removed the drumstick, and filled it with slices of white meat. I think she was a little weirded out, but her pace picked up at that point.

1997

Fladenbrot! Thank you, Turkey, for think of this, and thank you, people of Turkey, for moving to Germany.

Fladenbrot! Thank you, Turkey, for thinking of this, and thank you, people of Turkey, for moving to Germany.

The menu: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, real cranberry sauce and relish!, several different roasted vegetables, and pumpkin pie.

The guests: twenty-seven people — this was sort of my official going-away party, as I was planning to spend 1998 in the United States.

Location: Ex-SO’s student dormitory im Papendiek 16, more specifically the historic, timbered garden house on the corner. I wish I could give you a picture of it — I looked and looked and can’t find one. Trust me, however, it’s cute as heck.

FN_sage-thinkstock_s4x3_lg

Fresh sage leaves, which I only learned about after living in Germany, thanks to the Italians who moved there. Gnocchi with sage butter. Thank you, Italy, and thank you, Italians, for moving to Germany!

Discoveries: I figured I was going to need a lot of stuffing this time around, so I made it with Fladenbrot, which was the cheapest way to buy large amounts of appropriate bread. I tore it into tiny pieces and spread it out over one of the kitchen tables in the dorm for several days, earning the ire of some of his fellows. I also figured out what the dried spices for the stuffing would have cost me, and decided to go with fresh ones — wow, that was one of the best decisions ever. I never went back on that one. Mmmm, fresh sage. There were vegetarians at that meal, so I made little fried Babybel cheeses — which wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I thought it might be. And Then-SO was an enthusiastic helper, as he’d been converted the previous year.

This year’s “turkey adventure”: Having been to the same place twice, I returned for a third time, where the lady still remembered me. Was soll es denn sein heute, meine Dame? she said, slightly sarcastically but still goodnaturedly, I thought. I said I needed a 15 kilo bird, and again, I emphasized, I wanted the whole bird, not one cut in half. Gibt’s nicht, she responded (“doesn’t exist”), in the typical offhand manner of the northern German dismissing something (lapidar is the adjective I’d have used to describe her manner in German). Gibt’s in den USA! I returned, because honestly, you can get huge turkeys in the U.S. and 30 pounds would be a big one, but not so hard to find. Mag sein, she responded, aber wenn’s das hier gäbe, würde es sowieso nie in den Ofen passen. That was something I hadn’t stopped to consider. German ovens are small, indeed.

I decided to rely on her assistance and relayed that I had invited twenty-seven people for dinner. She looked at me and sort of scoffed. Ich dachte, Sie seien eine Akademikerin, she said, kochen tun Sie für fast dreißig? I figured that most of the Americans who Göttingers meet had something to do with the university, but I wasn’t having it. I can cook for a crowd as well as the next Midwesterner. Promovieren kann ich, I said, und eine Pute braten, auch (I can write a dissertation and roast a turkey, too.) She looked at me again, a little more kindly, and said, conspiratorially, Passense mal auf, so machen S’es (pay attention, this is how you’ll do it)…

The result: She sold me three fresh turkeys of a generous 4.5 kg each. I stuffed each one and put them in roasting bags. I roasted one in the oven on the floor of ex-SO’s dorm, one in the oven of the kitchen on the floor below, and one in the oven of the friend in the Maschstr. where we had celebrated a year before. I circulated between them periodically using my bike — but they were done quickly and didn’t have to be basted because of the bags. A half hour before dinner, I pulled the turkey out of my friend’s oven and a friend drove me the very short distance from his house to the dormitory with the very hot turkey in the hatchback of his car and ex-SO lugged the turkey from downstairs upstairs and we assembled the meal and carried it out to the garden house.

My friends supplied the beverages.

A good time was had by all.

You just need to have a little sticktoitiveness, supportive friends, and a cooperative butcher, and you, too, can have a successful Thanksgiving in Germany.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

***

Posts from previous Thanksgivings are here: 2014 (includes the Armitage Thanksgiving vids), 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

~ by Servetus on November 26, 2015.

57 Responses to “Three Thanksgivings I spent in Germany”

  1. What a great story. Or stories. I loved reading about the life of an American in Germany – on such a pivotal day, for an American. Had to laugh out loud at the lapidar reactions of the butcher lady (we love our straight talking in the North) and almost felt wistful at your description of German manners when it comes to food. (We don’t really get credited much for politeness… it always surprises me when someone says we are…) Anyhow, your post proves to me that you can feel at home anywhere, as long as you are surrounded by good friends…
    On a different note, I was wrecking my brain to remember what I did for Thanksgiving when I was an exchange student in the US. I cannot remember, and I am slightly miffed that I obviously had not been invited to spend this holiday with anyone. Humph… Mind you, I did try pumpkin pie while in the States, and yes – not something that I, an average German, liked very much. Everything else I would’ve stuffed my face with. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Serv.

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    • You DO love your straight talking, but I grew to really love that about you. But am I wrong? No German invited to a huge meal that obviously took a lot of work would ever say anything about it was wrong, and they’d really probably cut off a finger before not finishing the food.

      I am upset that no one invited you. Very strange.

      I get why Germans don’t like it that much. It’s the spices that you’d usually put on a Lebkuchen, put on this puddingy squashy flavored thing.

      Thanks!

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      • No, you are not wrong. I think there are limits to the straight talking. And when it comes to dinner invitations, the etiquette is to eat up and praise, no matter what.
        Good point about the spices in pumpkin pie, never occurred to me. Although I also was not a fan of the texture of the pumpkin filling.
        Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving day yesterday!

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  2. Thankful for the stories of German Thanksgivings. A fun and interesting read. I have never had a fried turkey but today we are having two kinds. One dry brined and cooked in a outdoor bbq rotisserie, and one wet brined in a smoker. Since we don’t have a double oven, it’s great to be able to cook outside. We are also having two kinds of stuffing: chorizo/squash/cornbread and traditional sage/bread/ onion/celery. We are only four this year, so I think my husband is a bit out of control. But he loves turkey. 🙂

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    • wow, your husband is hard CORE. Good you can cook that outside. And hopefully the leftovers will be great. Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy.

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  3. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Loved reading about your Thanksgiving and Turkey adventures in Germany! Yep, buying Turkey is expensive here and not so common…

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  4. Servetus, thanks, for this wonderful stories. Sounds like that have been spectacular events… I’d love to have the opportunity to eat a turkey now……

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    • BTW.. is that your suitcase in the picture?? 😉

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      • Those were really good turkeys — you’d be totally welcome!

        not my suitcase but could have been 🙂

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        • Ah, I’ll maybe come back on that later… 😉 You know, over the last 10-15 years there have been massive changes in the eating behaviour here in Munich (therefore probably all over Germany). Now it’s sometimes hard to find a decent place to eat local food. There are mainly Asian-food places, loads of all kind of Arabian (Turkish!) places and Greek restaurants (special Bavarian-Greek heritage!!) and of course hundreds of Italian restaurants and (not to forget) burgers……. BTW Munich is the leading city in Europe when it comes to vegan food….
          One finds pumpkins all over the place now!!!
          And then…..there is obviously also no way to avoid Halloween anymore……. Grrrr……. 🙂

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          • It’s too bad. I like the Bavarian food I tried in Munich, esp roast duck with gravy and Knödel!

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            • Still there are a hand full of welcoming places left in the city, which are worth a visit that I’d recommend to visitors for a tasty 1/2 duck mit Knödel or a Schweinebraten mit Kruste, Kartoffelknödel und Krautsalat….. :-)… and then there is the hilly hinterland…

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              • When I took my folks to Andechs, we had a fantastic meal at a hotel in Starnberg. Sort of generally Bavarian. I don’t remember exactly what we had, but my parents were excited enough that they went back fairly late for a Vesper.

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                • “Der heilige Berg” ist immer eine “Wallfahrt” wert. 😀 Yeah, since Starnberg is the poshest and wealthiest county/administrative district throughout Germany, it is just indicated to find some “haute cuisine” there 😉 !! However, my absolute favourite place for food or just a coffee with delicous cakes or sweet dishes (natürlich mit Biergarten!) is on the other side of the lake: http://www.zumfischmeister.com/ (heißer Tipp!!)

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                  • It wasn’t haute cuisine, my parents wouldn’t be interested, and I don’t remember it being that expensive, but it was good. We were there in a kind of “off season” if I recall correctly. If I make it back to Bavaria, I will put your suggestion on my list!

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                  • mmm: Saibling nach Mülllerin Art … I would try that any day …

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  5. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Great reminiscing of Thanksgiving abroad – reminds me of years marking the 4th of July in Greece. Where there’s a will, there’s a way 🙂

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  6. Happy Thanksgiving from here too! Wirklich sehr unterhaltsam, was sich alles bei deinen Versuchen, Thanksgiving in D zu zelebrieren zugetragen hat. “Sie wieder” 😂 Charmant bis der Arzt kommt! Spielt hier ja kaum eine Rolle dieses Fest. Allerdings sprach meine Tochter vorhin: “Heute ist Thanksgiving. Oh Mann, ich vermisse das Stuffing und überhaupt…..” Eine Auslandsjahr prägt doch immens 😀

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    • It was one of the ongoing puzzles of Germany to me that often salespeople did not seem to want to sell the things they had for sale (shakes head). Like I couldn’t possibly want a very large turkey, lol.

      Stuffing is really something to warm the heart of every German. It’s full of BREAD after all.

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  7. This post made me very hungry! Our Canadian Thanksgiving seems so long ago, and I feel ready for turkey again. I am amazed that you remember so well exactly what you cooked. I love fresh turkey too and once you have it, I swear you can’t go back to frozen. I have not cooked a frozen bird in years. Just reading about the three birds roasting in three locations made me tired. I cannot believe you pulled that off, it must have been exhausting. Finally: how can one not LOVE pumpkin pie? 🙂

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    • The menu didn’t change much from year to year — pretty much only the vegetable changed.

      i’ve gone back to frozen out of laziness (sourcing a fresh bird is kind of a pain if you’re as disorganized as I am) but if it were easy to get a fresh bird, I’d be there immediately.

      Pumpkin pie: as huge generalization to which there are of course exceptions, Germans tend not to like highly spiced things, or things with a confusing combination of spices. Pumpkin pie has most of the Xmas spices in it — instead of just cinnamon or just cloves or just allspice or just ginger, it’s all four … Germans tend to think that things should taste like their main ingredient.

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  8. What a wonderful story. We had our first fresh turkey today. Our friend raises and butchers them, so she brought the turkey. It was a revelation. I don’t think I’ve tasted a juicier bird.

    Pumpkin pie haters need to try it when it is made from a real pumpkin. I made the pies this year, and cooked down and puréed the pumpkins a few days ago. It’s a lot of work, but the flavor is a huge improvement over the canned variety.

    I’m still trying to get the crust down. I’ll be looking for lard to make a lard pie crust at Christmas.

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    • My grandmother made her pumpkin from scratch, and I didn’t notice that much difference, but I would say it depends a lot on the variety of pumpkin you choose. It wasn’t that easy to buy a pumpkin in German at that time, either, although pumpkin soup was starting to get popular and you could sometimes buy little Hokkaido pumpkins — but that isn’t what I’d choose for a pie, I suppose.

      The thing about lard, and I don’t know why this was, maybe it’s something to do with the nature of the fat, was that it needed less water to come together than a crust made with regular vegetable shortening. So it could be rolled out multiple times if necessary without getting tough.

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      • The three women at the table all told me to use lard. My crust came out to crumbly. They said it was because I used shortening.

        Are you going to tell us about your Christmases in Germany? I was telling my mom about your Thanksgivings and she started telling me about Christmas in Germany when she was a little girl.

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        • Honestly, I feel like it’s a mystery. My mom was really good at it but she probably made 5 pies a week when she was a girl — she was the piemaker in that family and they ate a lot of it. When I was making one that wasn’t coming out she was great at telling me what I needed to do but only if she could touch it herself (shrugs).

          Xmas in Germany … sure. I could write about it if the fancy strikes me. Germans definitely take Christmas VERY seriously. It’s just a part of my life I haven’t written about here very much (I suppose because it was generally very happy and I’m a sort of gloomy chick.)

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  9. Happy Thanksgiving and Thank you for the post, it makes me hungry! Turkey ist bei uns immer noch recht selten, auch wenn man sonst Fleisch in allen Varianten und aus allen Ländern der Welt bekommt 🙂 hier wird er durch die Martinsgans ersetzt. Wie schmeckt Truthahn denn? Ähnlich wie Gans, Pute, oder Entenbrust?
    Ich musste laut lachen bei der “Milch”, bei uns trinkt ausser den Kindern ja fast niemand Milch 🙂
    Und die Backöfen werden leider immer kleiner….. Heute wird es schon schwierig eine große Gans unter zu bringen…..

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    • A German friend of mine who’s moved to the US pointed out to me that I probably like turkey best because I’ve eaten it my whole life, but it has a less pronounced flavor than either goose or duck. And I still am not entirely sure what the difference is between Pute and Truthahn, actually 🙂

      I think milk at family meals is a Midwestern US thing. Well, that, and we had plenty of it. I’m not a big fan of it either except in coffee.

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      • Pute ist die nachgezüchtete, modifizierte “Haustierform” des Truthahns. Ob es da geschmacklich auch einen Unterschied gibt, kann ich allerdings nicht sagen, gegessen habe ich bis jetzt nur Pute 🙂
        Thanks for sharing this great story!!!

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        • so Truthahn is like wild turkey and Pute is like turkey … I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a wild turkey before. I have had wild duck.

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          • Or at least that’s what I’ve made of an explanation given to my by one of my fathers friends (a hobby poultry farmer) many years ago 🙂

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  10. You are fearless. I’ve spent two Thanksgivings in Britain on coverages for work, and both times spent the meal with teammates, most American expats, at the local carvery buffet. The turkey was ok; the roast beef was delicious. :0)

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  11. Your turkey sure sounds delicious; particularly the stuffing part 🙂 I’ve never had it with cranberries. I’m impressed by your ingenuity and persistence in making this a feast. An American woman in Göttingen (Not an Englishman in New York).
    Turkey is not big here – we have either chicken or goose. However, a turkey is less expensive and feeds more people. I don’t know if turkey is considered “a poor man’s dish” here like herring was for many years. German and Danish turkeys – and ovens – would be the same size – tiny compared to American standards. As one of my American family members says “Everything’s big in the States” 😉
    I laughed out loud at your story about the lady taking your order. Wauw, that’s a big ‘pute’.
    – And, I also find Germans to be very polite.

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    • I inherently find the word “Pute” amusing because it calls to mind “puta,” which is something one hears a lot on the US-México border.

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      • Ha, I know what ‘puta’ means…;-)
        No, that’s not why I find it amusing – ‘pute’ resembles the Danish word ‘putte’ (almost pronounced the same way, the u is not long). It has various meanings: as a verb (=to snuggle/to put), as a diminutive marker, e.g. ‘putte’ (a pet name ‘little honey’) or ‘puttehøne’ (=a little hen/or someone who likes to snuggle).
        I’m surprised a turkey is ‘pute’ in German. I would say a ‘pute’ is a chicken…But what do I know 🙂

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  12. Love this! I can’t believe your tenacity! Bicycling between 3 locations to tend to those little turkeys… huge round of applause!! We also always do a fresh turkey, and they are sooo much better, so very moist… though quite a bit pricier, for a dish that’s only done once or twice a year, it’s well worth it in my mind. I’m an unapologetic dark-meat aficionado, though, and so is Hubby. We always have as much as we can eat and take for the leftovers, as all the rest of the family prefers the white meat. Re: the pie crust… I didn’t know there were other options besides lard! Seriously… I have my Norwegian grandmother’s pie crust recipe and I’ve never once looked at any other, or found pie crust to be so tricky as people always say it is. Now it makes me wonder if the lard is the key to making it not only flakily delicious but forgiving…. =)

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    • dark meat — I think the thigh is tasty, but I’m not enamored of the turkey drumstick. But it’s good to have consensus with the guests about who will eat which part.

      I think the lard does make it more forgiving. I won’t say I dread pie crust, because I have too much experience making it, but let’s say, I have a healthy respect of it — and it’s much easier with lard than with vegetable shortening. I had one grandmother who rendered her own lard when I was very small, but I mostly saw them make pies with Crisco.

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    • oh, and: i regularly look back to things I did twenty years ago and wonder where I got the energy!

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  13. Lovely lovely story! Reminds me of the year I spent in the UK as a student and the wonderful enjoyment to be able to cook for many people We had a flat of nations from Mexicans Norwegian Welsh English Venezuelan Columbian and me and we each threw a massive country themed bash for flatmates plus friends ☺cooked for 30 and had amazing time with it. And never stopped baking my chocolate Torte for many bdays after that as to my delight it was much loved and ordered ☺ as a present. Fried crepes for 15 people several times. Baked creme caramels made sour cabbage rolls and stuffed Vine leave rolls etc Some of the best memories of sharing meals with friends and learning from them Making proper rice with Asian friends real tortillas and mole with the Mexicans etc and drinking drinks from around the world ☺ tho I never got into Nordic salted licorice yuk! It’s what I miss most at holidays sharing loads of food with many people

    Like

  14. Oh and hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and didn’t have to cook 3 turkeys ☺

    Like

    • Thanks, I didn’t cook any!

      I think there’s something amazing about those multicultural settings — precisely because no group is in the majority.

      Liked by 1 person

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