Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Celebrating Thanksgiving Overseas

It's hard to find turkeys in China, but Taobao makes it easier.  Taobao is like eBay or Amazon in that individuals and businesses can sell items through their platform (each has their own storefront).  And fortunately for us, one of those items is imported foods.  Like turkey!  This year we went with two Norbest turkeys and they showed up at my door less than 24 hours after I placed my order.  Shipping in China amazes me.  

My friend and I modeling the new double oven and occupants. :-)*
So, my friend and I tackled cooking the turkeys.  Neither of us had cooked a turkey before, but armed with a lot of confidence and Martha Stewart recipes, we jumped right in.  It was a total success!  Surprising, right?  Since we were hosting at our house, we cooked the turkeys here to save time transporting them and such.  Well, our teeny oven could barely hold one turkey so I borrowed another one.  My new double oven was more than adequate for the task!  It was a bit tricky basting the bird in the top oven, but we quickly learned that tag teaming was the way to go.  I will interject here that the next day my biceps were very sore.  We got our workout in lifting those turkeys in and out!

The football participants (and Samson - they needed a sixth man)*
We made a whole day of Thanksgiving.  Activities focused on thankfulness (or "thanksgivities" as they were dubbed) were shared throughout the day to bring our attention to being thankful.  We started with lunch, followed by some football for the boys and then topped it all off with some of the best tasting food I have had in awhile.  Last year, I made the green bean casserole from scratch.  It was time consuming and I had to remake the fried onions (yes, you can make your own!).  This year, a friend of ours who parents were visiting brought in the necessary components for a green bean casserole.  Canned foods baked in a casserole dish never tasted so good.  

"Brian" the brined turkey*
"Chester" the cheese clothed turkey (see Martha's recipe)*
Rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, corn casserole, salad and Beijing duck finished off the menu. We didn't have enough plates, glasses or silverware, but friends willingly donated their wares to adorn the table in a mismatched fashion that worked out pretty well.  The tablecloth I found on Taobao (I tell you that site is amazing).  Thankfulness abounded as we sat around and shared food, smiles and warm conversation.  Dessert was readily accepted and three hours after carving up Brian and Chester (yes, we named the birds), people slowly and sluggishly pushed themselves away from the table.  
The table setting - red plates over here, purple over there :-)*
Enjoying ourselves*
I'm so thankful for this community of friends we were able to share this Thanksgiving with!  It was an amazing day and as we sat and shared in the meal, my heart was happy.  God has blessed us so much in this foreign land - even giving us turkey!  We have a lot to be thankful for. 

Turkey coma!*
*All photos courtesy of Taylor 

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