Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving St Kitts Style

Since I am not in the US, I had to go to school both Thursday and Friday, but to make up for it, my friends and I decided to make our own Thanksgiving on Saturday night. Luckily, the stores sold most of what we needed. They sold butterball turkeys, which I felt was meat I could trust. The 14 lb turkey cost about 110 EC which is about $40 plus the tax here, which is ridiculously high thanks to a new law, but we were willing to pay it. We split up all the food and decided to eat up the hill at the biggest house. The plan was to cook the turkey there so it did not need to be carried. We wanted to eat at 7, so at about 3, the turkey went into the oven as planned. I got a ride and was there around 4. The turkey smelled delicious. Since the turkey took up the whole oven, people who needed to cook other things went down the hill a ways to another house to use the ovens there. Everything was going as planned...until about 5. That's when we began to wonder if someone took the giblets out. As we prepared the tongs to go in, a phone call confirmed that the giblets had been taken out, but more on that later. We also realized that the turkey did not have the pop-up thermometer like we were counting on and we had no meat thermometer, so we were going to have to wing it. At 7, nearly everything was ready, so we went to get the turkey out of the oven and found that at some point, the oven had stopped heating. It was still slightly warm inside, but nowhere near the needed temperature. What to do? We took the turkey out and were going to drive it down the hill to further cook it. Unfortunately, we were up a dirt road that had been partially washed out in the recent rain storms and we decided the rough road would make all the juices spill out of the pan, so the turkey was carried down the hill. Did I mention that by this time it was dark? Because it was and street lights are not excessively common there. We got down the hill and put the turkey in. We figured give it about an hour and then cut into it to check. Unfortunately, the power went out about 15 minutes into that hour. The oven was gas so we were able to continue cooking the turkey, but we got to sit in the dark for awhile. Sitting in the dark is a common thing around the island, although not so much at my house. The island has rolling power outages all the time and if there is a big storm the power will frequently go out. I live closer to the capital than the rest of my friends and have only lost power once for an hour. An hour later, we took the turkey out and it looked down. We carried everything back up the hill and prepared to eat. We toasted new families and dug into our meal. We way overestimated how much food we needed and decided that from our island diets, stomachs had shrunk, so we had a lot of excess food, which meant leftovers. But the turkey was fully cooked and tasted delicious and the food was almost as good as at home. Now it is about three days to my birthday and then 17 days after that until I fly home, which I am looking forward to a lot. I am looking forward to seeing everybody and everything at home. Since it is still over 80 degrees here everyday, the fact that it is fall doesn't really hit me, but I'm sure stepping off the plane into the winter air will make it a reality.
I was holding the meat while the turkey was cut and thought I should just start eating now
Our thanksgiving dinner, I made the pie next to the turkey

St Kitts family photo

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