Last night PEP held its first Thanksgiving Dinner Fundraiser (Friday night- because that was more convenient- I mean, who plans holidays on Thursday anyways?) I’m sure a more sentimental post will come about building bridges, friendships, family, etc- but I thought you might also find a bit a humor in my first time hosting Thanksgiving.
We had 64 confirmed guests.
Which means I was preparing A LOT OF FOOD. On Wednesday to start the cooking I went for the easiest stuff as a warm up- desert. Though we’re having Kirr (Pakistan’s version of rice pudding), I knew it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Apple Pie! Though it almost had to carry on without pie, I kept forgetting to put in the butter. Whoops.
Four homemade pie crusts (no Pillsbury here!), 12 apples, and a beautiful smelling kitchen later- pies were checked off the list!
Wednesday I also learned that nutmeg comes from nuts (got to crush them!), that you have to go to a few stores in order to acquire 11 packs of butter, and that some people will “accidentally” sell you Pistachio flavored kirr which you get to return and exchange. Thursday we bought what was left to buy of the food. Here is Salvin with our feast-to-be. Yes- that’s a bag of chicken (turkeys in Pakistan are like Snipes in America- a humorous looking bird no one can ever seem to find).
Thursday afternoon and evening I made 8 liters of kirr, shucked 40 ears of corn (and broke them in half), and together with Jane cut 8 1/2 kilos of potatoes into cubes- all while we watched You’ve Got Mail. I even got to skype with my family in SC that night!
Then Friday came. It began with a type of controlled energy- there was a list, I had a plan, time schedules for everyone on who is getting 65 plates, cups, and spoons from where and who is hanging up the Pin the Pilgrim Hat on the Turkey game, and where the Photo Booth was being set up. We bought all 10 chickens the day before (16 kilos, if you wanted to know) and I had the lovely pleasure of washing them with my friend Roxana. We all “hung out” together you might say.
Blogs seem the place to be honest. With that in mind, I must tell you that until this point in my life I had never roasted a chicken by myself. With that in mind, I prepared to roast 10 and I learned that roasting chicken is like Social Dance Class. The first one I tenderly picked up from the rack, using as few fingers as possible- didn’t want to get too close. And I gingerly poked in the garlic, slowly rubbed on the butter (again, attempting not to use more than 2 fingers), and then washed my hands thoroughly. By the tenth, I was grabbing them in each hand, shoving in fistfuls of chopped onions, and slathering the butter on like sunscreen. You start off scared to touch each other but in the end you’re waltzing! Okay, so maybe I’m not “waltzing” my way through chicken roasting, but I’m at least line dancing.
Then my oven decided to die. So I decided to have a break down and wash it down with a diet coke and my emergency Cadbury chocolate bar (yes the entire thing). Then I got off the kitchen floor.
With one oven down, 10 chickens to roast, and 9 hours until the party- we said a little pray and snuggly fit 2 chickens in the oven. Despite the oven and accidentally forgetting two kirr in the freezer, the rest of the day went rather well! I boiled all the corn, took the meat off the chicken with my friend Sunaina, Roxana and I fried the chopped potatoes (with a little curry- a compromise to not having biryani), and the boys cut up 64 pieces of naan.
I was quite pleased with myself and the dinner.Though Grandma’s mac and cheese, Aunt Gail’s sweet potatoes, Mom’s fruit salad cups, and a morning watching the Macy’s Day Parade (instead of watching myself stick a hand inside 10 chickens) were greatly missed.
A gallery of photos of the actual event should be coming up shortly! Especially thankful for each of you this week!