Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ma Dinde...I Think I'll Call Her Tomasina

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. You know I love to cook, love to eat and I try to be thankful a little bit every day so added all together it's a bonanza of happiness for me. This will be our 6th Thanksgiving away from home. I've had ingredients shipped, cooked very badly while unknowingly preggers, searched high and low for corn meal and shared two Thankful meals with wonderful Irish friends.
This year should be no different. We are Americans after all.
I'd heard that it's not such a snap to find turkeys here in November. As in Ireland the best birds are being fattened up for the big show....Noel. But you don't think a little turkey finding trouble is going to put the ixna on number six do you?

Having written the word for turkey phonetically on the palm of my hand--DEND, I always mispronounce it--I went to the butcher to ask for a bird. I had to talk on the phone with the turkey farmer Nadine. In French. In front of butcher and her husband, who kept chuckling. I think the way I say, 'une dinde noire' must be super hilarious. In the sunny South they have a tendency to put a flourish on the end of feminine words like, 'une' and 'dinde' and 'noire'. And so it sounds a bit I-talian when you put it all together. And hearing me do it, avec flourish, must have been more than butcher husband could take.

I got a noire turkey because from what I could piece together, the blanche turkeys are tres fat, right now....already up to 7 kilos. They are also tres expensive at 15 euro per kilo. Ouch. Not wanting a turkey that bad after all.
So it was that Nadine suggested the smaller noire lady. At a perfect four kilo and a bit less than 15/kilo I agreed. I think what's going to happen is this: my little turkey will live her last couple of days, today and tomorrow, happily on Nadine's farm, basking in the lovely crisp days resplendent with sunshine, gobbling a happy turkey song and kicking up dust; then thwack!, kapow! she gets it.

I keep referring to ma dinde as a girl. I don't know if she really is but with the feminine noun, adjective and article, I can't help thinking of her that way.

So when she arrives Thursday morning I will butter, garlic and herb her up, pop her in the oven and serve her to my American family for Thanksgiving. Along with my mother's famous cornbread dressing. I'm from Texas, ya'll. There won't be cream of mushroom soup in the green bean casserole but a homemade version of same with my new-found ability to make mushroom bechamel sauce. The ham isn't coming out this year so it only makes sense that the broccoli-cheese casserole will be omitted too...those two are just made for each other. But I will have cranberries a la ma soeur and pumpkin (fresh) and chocolate meringue pies too.

What are your Thanksgiving favorites? Any you just could not live without no matter where in the world you lived?

For your viewing pleasure I'm including photos of European (Irish) Thanksgivings past.
Thankfully yours. 

2008, 3 month old littlest

2006, just look at that middlest, the then littlest

2005, our first european thanksgiving


  1. Poor little turkey. Sniff. Well, we Aussies don't do Thanksgiving, heathens that we are. But I do really like your pumpkin pie. And I would never say no to roast anything!

  2. Kirsty, I know...but someone's going to do it, might as well be me. Pumpkin's roasting as we speak.

  3. This will be my seventh Thanksgiving away from the States, and I always feel sad. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and I miss it terribly. I swear now that I'm married, and settled I'm going to start celebrating Thanksgiving here, and would have this year, if my oven had not broke! Can you believe it?
    So I'm going to do my best to ignore what tomorrow is. Instead, it's just a normal Thursday in France.
    Have a wonderful time tomorrow with your family. And take a big ol' bite out of Tomasina for me :-) xo

  4. Hey!!!

    So here's my 'recipe' for the greenbeans, it fed about 4 of us:

    2.5 cups frozen green beans, defrosted and well drained, even 'rung out' if you will
    250g mushrooms, chopped up fine
    1 garlic clove
    1/2 heavy cream (you know, the fatty one, I can never remember the name)
    1/2 cup milk
    1/5 cup white cooking wine
    salt/pepper to taste
    'Oignons-Frites' (they are available in the store)

    Step 1: Heat up some butter and stir fry the mushrooms + garlic for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat in a big skillet
    Step 2: Pour in the cream/milk, stir around and then add the wine. Allow to simmer over medium-low until mixture becomes thick... you can also use bechamel sauce in lieu of the cream.
    Step 3: Pour the saucy mixture over the green beans. Top with some cheese, if desired, if no, top with those fried onions...

    Cover/bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 on 185c.

  5. I have been invited for 6 consecutive years at my friend Iris' Thanksgiving. They are now living Bangkok and I suddenly find myself kind of orphan, without a Thanksgiving dinner. Too late to organize one myself, and then it is not our tradition. I am still hoping that one of my American friends in Florence will call me and ask me to be at their table....

  6. Sara, Oh, that makes me sad. I wish you could come over tomorrow. We can skype if you want and you should raise a glass come dinnertime. I'm thankful for your cyber friendship!
    xo beaucoup,

  7. Sasha,
    Thanks for the recette. I couldn't believe it but actually saw the fried onions at hyper-u! happy thanksgiving,

    first of all, I'll take you up on the cheese in florence offer! secondly, i love that you've enjoyed thanksgiving so many times before. everyone who has ever shared one knows how great a holiday it is. like i told sara, you'd be more than welcome. i'll toast you tomorrow and hope you get that invite...
    a x

  8. Oh, so wonderful to hear of fellow Americans celebrating Thanksgiving in France. The stories we could all tell if we were around a table together! ha ha Nice bit of info on the dinde noire!!! Didn't know that. I love that your girl is alive and happy a la free range until the tasty end. :) Cook well and eat well. Happy Thanksgiving!


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