Pass the Turkey Posted on December 8th, 2009 by

Consider that Thanksgiving festivities you enjoyed last week. It probably included getting together with family and friends for a big home-cooked meal, maybe some card games and parade viewing or football playing or watching.  Now what would you do if you had half of a kitchen (the half without an oven) your friends and family were thousands of miles away and the Macy’s Parade wasn’t broadcast on any of the local channels?  Why, you would improvise of course. 

What to do about that turkey dinner.  Hmmm?  We couldn’t exactly have a full-blown Thanksgiving dinner seeing as we were missing quite a few ingredients, namely a turkey.  And had we a turkey, what would we have done with it?  We had no stuffing, a limited repertoire of spices and our cooker would not even have been big enough to accommodate a small bird.  So, what to do?  Let’s see, we have some chicken.  That’s a bird.  Close enough.  Don’t even think about pumpkin pie or cranberries; there’s no way that could happen.  We ended up making ourselves a lovely meal of chicken noodle soup (which was actually quite good) and peanut butter cookies.  Not exactly a feast, but it worked. 

Since I haven’t a good handle on apparation yet, spending Thanksgiving with family was out of the question.  We settled for inviting a group of students from the college over for a few games of cards.  Twelve of us crowded around our rickety dinning table sitting on a variety of chairs and foot stools.  There are only a few card games you can play with so many people but there is one suited for large groups.  Spoons.  Since our limited kitchen only had four spoons we needed to acquire more in order to play.  Luckily the students were able to scrounge up some and dutifully whipped spoons out of jackets and pants pockets on cue.  What ensued was a rather intense session of Spoons, including fervent concentration, cross-table diving, and bent cards.  The game quickly became quite competitive but was enjoyed by all. 

Though are Thanksgiving was far from traditional, it was very agreeable. 



  1. Greg Boone says:

    When I was in China we didn’t have a kitchen at all, and if we had one, it probably would have been like yours—small and sans oven. Instead we went out for Peking Duck and other culinary delights from the Beijing region, and grabbed some ice cream instead of pumpkin pie.

    Were any of the people in your group Tanzanian? If so, what did they understand about Thanksgiving? Our Chinese friends didn’t know much beyond that it was a good excuse to eat a lot of food.

  2. Mara Johnson-Groh says:

    All of the people we invited over were Tanzanian. They didn’t know what Thanksgiving was about so we explained and I think they understood.