Last weekend I was invited to help cook thanksgiving. Yes, I know that thanksgiving was 2 weeks ago and yes I’m still in Japan. My friend Ryo wanted to share thanksgiving with some of the people in his town so he rented out his town’s community center kitchen and recruited a few other americans to make the meal. Considering its been 2 years since I’ve had turkey that wasn’t in sandwich form I was thrilled to help out.
However just because I’m american doesn’t mean I’m a expert on making thanksgiving, I’m just an expert at consuming thanksgiving. The night before I picked my mom’s brain via skype and sent out my question into the facebook universe. Luckily I was put on pie duty and the more experienced cooks took over the birds. Just getting the birds took more effort than usual. Ryo had to order them frozen from a foreign meat website.
Apparently there aren’t turkeys in Japan. There’s chicken, but just no turkey. Its really difficult to describe a turkey to people who don’t know what it is. Many Japanese asked if its a roast chicken. Well not really, its like a chicken but bigger, and kinda tastes like chicken but not really. When I’m lazy I just say “yeah roast chicken.”
I got to handle something I had more experience with, pie. I love baking but I don’t have an oven in my kitchen, there isn’t even room for a toaster oven. So I jumped at the chance to bake something. The only trick was converting American measurements to metric and trust the 100 yen kitchen scale I had. The ovens also had the tendency of turning off from time to time for reasons that I was unaware of. Regardless of the obstacles, the pies came out fantastic if I do say so myself. The 5 year old sitting across from me didn’t seem to agree. She spit the pie right back out after putting it in her mouth. I appreciated her honesty even if her mother was extremely embarrassed.
We had a great time chatting with people from around the town, and it was interesting to see people’s reactions to american foods. Surprisingly mashed potatoes are a new food that some of the kids didn’t take to well either. There were also a couple boys that loved the food, went back for 3rds and took leftovers home. They also jumped at the opportunity to eat the huge drumsticks without forks.
As with every other thanksgiving I went home in a turkey induced haze and spent the rest of the day watching tv and doing nothing productive. It was great celebrating thanksgiving this year, even if it wasn’t on the exact date.