Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Talking Turkey

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I like the fact that it is about being with friends and family and being thankful without the pressures of Christmas to purchase gifts and fill an entire season with activities in order to celebrate it. It is a simple holiday. I am a simple person. Thanksgiving and I go well together!

Having lived the ex pat life for a long time now, I recall years where getting a turkey for our Thanksgiving meal was not always an easy thing to accomplish. These days, turkeys are much easier to come by in South America than they used to be.

I remember, many, many, years ago, in Mexico, my soon to be brother in law and his sister managed to get us a turkey from the village where she taught school. We filled our home with his family for our dinner. I was a little upset to see them add chili peppers to my dressing!

In Venezuela we managed to find turkeys in the city, but in the jungle, it was not always so. IF a plane came through on the right day, the missionary pilots might be able to bring us one. Or perhaps an indian would run across a wild turkey while hunting, but if not, we would just be happy to have any meat on our Thanksgiving table. I remember  some years  we ate tapir, which is much like beef. We had deer, which seemed appropriate as I recall that Squanto and his friends brought deer to the Pilgrim's thanksgiving feast. We have eaten fish, chickens, even capybera. The important thing was to be together.

This year we are celebrating a little differently. Tomorrow we are invited to a traditional thanksgiving dinner to be held for the Embassy staff, the board of directors for the Centro Cultural Paraguayo-Americano, the Chamber of Commerce, and a group of Paraguayan professionals who have graduated from American colleges. I am sure it will be fun and entertaining. I love meeting new people and hearing their life stories.

But the real fun for us is that we will be traveling to Uruguay to visit friends for the holiday. They were also missionaries in Venezuela and we have not seen each other for a few years now. We will be driving our own car and since there are no turkeys available in their town, we are taking the turkey with us. Hopefully, we will get it through customs as we are traveling through Merco~Sur countries.

I went out to buy the turkeys last week end and found two small ones which will fit in the cooler for the two day road trip. We will take them frozen and packed in ice which we will replenish along the way. These two turkeys are well traveled having already come to Paraguay from Peru and their journey is not over as now we take them to Uruguay, via Argentina.

 Americans will do a almost anything to ensure a turkey for the thanksgiving table!

How about you? Have you had troubles finding turkeys for your Thanksgiving, now, or in the past?  Have you an interesting tale about  celebrating Thanksgiving over seas or even at home in the USA?


Jackie said...

Brian's mission today is to find an organic, range fed turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner. Even here its tricky to find the turkey...if you're a health food nut like me, that is.

Rachel said...

We're in Botswana and no turkey for us this year!!! We found one in the store this week, but it was $30 US for a turkey the size of a Cornish hen. Considering we will have 13 or so to feed this Thanksgiving...I don't think we'll be getting it! So we're having fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy...very Southern! :o) LOL

Rhonda in Chile said...

Our first turkey in Chile was not for thanksgiving, but Easter. Mom left the bird in the oven while we were at church. When we arrived home, a smell, not aroma, a smell, of fish greeted us. Appently the turkey farmer had fed them fish meal. Gross!

We can now get excellent turkey, so I am happy!

redneck preacher said...

If you were fortunate like my wife you would have a turkey each holiday "until death do we part" Of coarse she cannot consume this one.

I knew a family in FL that got a raccoon each Thanksgiving.


Betty said...

Happy Thanksgiving Rita! I hope you enjoy your vacation in Uruguay!

Brooke said...

I make a turkey, and haven't had trouble with it.

In fact, this year I bought the turkey about a month ago and stuck it in the freezer. I found it for $0.40 per pound, a real steal! I got a 13.5 lb. hen for $5.40! :)

The rest of my family does ham. LOL!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I love your turkey adventures. Makes me wish I was there to share the table with you!

My favorite memory is definitely Thanksgiving in Africa--and turkey no less. That was practically a memory.

I'm from the South, so we deep fry our turkey here. It's delicious! I'm pretty excited!

Kathy said...

Here the American Women's Club always has a tradtional holiday dinner together. This year it was this past Sat. night and only a small group--but lovely. There's usually no problem finding turkey (which I don't eat as a vege.!), but it's hit or miss if you can find pumpkin pie filling and/or Betty Crocker frozen pie crust! :) This Thursday we are going to (after Skyping the fam.)go to the new Taco Time restaurant and pretend we are in America! :) Your holiday sounds like great fun! Have a blast!!!

GutsyWriter said...

The well-traveled expat turkeys will be happy to visit another country. Sounds like you're going to be having a good time with new people and old friends.

Miss Footloose said...

Happy travels! May the turkeys make the whole journey across borders and arrive safe and cold.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gringo said...

I hope you have no trouble with getting your turkey through Customs. I worked in Argentina not far from the Bolivian border. Back then, If you couldn't get a VCR or a camera through Argentine Customs without paying a humongous tax (electronics and cameras were 3X-4X US prices then in Argentina), it was no problem to pay someone to smuggle it across. But as Paraguay has always been smugglers' paradise run by the smugglers themselves, this is no surprise to you.

That sounds like a long drive. But having two turkey dinners in such a short time is worth it.

The area of Guatemala I know best has a turkey stew known as kak’ik traditionally served on Christmas.Though it can be found other times of the year, also. Takes a long time to cook. With the tamals w plums, it makes a tasty meal. (chunto= turkey in Guatemala.)

The Rodriguez link shows the complete processing of the turkey, which brings back memories of my having assisted in same.

Brenda said...

I always liked the Brazilian turkeys when I lived in Paraguay. Thanksgiving is more exciting when the turkey is challenging to find.

Holly said...

We just moved to the Philippines last month. The only turkeys we have seen were private property. They were free-range though! ;~)

We plan to have rotisserie chicken (bought from a street vendor ~ delicious!) creamed potatoes with cream cheese and sour cream (found it for the 1st time!) fresh green beans (if there are any available in the market tomorrow) and hot pandesal (delicious rolls) that are baked 24 hours a day here in a little bakery up the street.

There are no pumpkins here, but we do have winter squash, so I made a squash pie. I had to make my own pie crust ~ I hope it is good. :~)

We miss our family back in the US. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for the same reasons you gave Jungle Mom. But, I am so thankful to be able to put together a meal that is somewhat normal for us and we are together ~ that's what matters!

The Lord is good and greatly to be praised!!!


gecko said...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, from "down under" :)

marion said...

Wow turkey talk is amazing.
What do you guys eat at Christmas ? ... and how do you deep fry a turkey ?
Rita are you deep frying those birds in Uruguay southern style ?
is that like KFC - but KFT.?
you guys thanksgiving is fascinating.

MightyMom said...

a friend of mine told a story. They had 2 turkeys (umm...you know live with feathers pecking around the farm) one time. Well the tom got to be a pain so he became Thanksgiving dinner.....apparently it'd been a rainy month and when my friend's hubby went to bring in the dinner he had a little trouble. apparently every swing of the axe only drove the chopping block deeper in the mud and ticked off the turkey more.....twas a real todo from what I was told.

once properly dead and plucked she gets ol tom in the oven, barely.....dude was HUGE almost didn't fit in the oven. and greasy. she peeks in to see how tom's doing and finds her roaster pan FULL of grease. she had a hairy time getting the grease poured off so dinner could be gotten on the table WIHTOUT needing to feed the fire dept too.

I do believe she kept to raising chickens after that......