Re: holidays in the field stories (fwd)

Fri, 23 Dec 1994 09:45:24 -0500

In reply to Patsy
> I'm not sure if this constitutes "in the field"--it was Scotland, about 10
> years ago (1985), and it was Thanksgiving dinner.
> An American friend from Louisiana (Hal) wanted to cook Thanksgiving dinner for a
> large group of our British friends (c. 25 people), and as the only other
> American I was delegated to the "side" dishes, while he did the turkey
> and gravy.
> This was before cranberry, sweet potatos, or pumpkin were available
> in the shops, and of course, he left getting the turkey until Saturday
> morning, so there were only small birds left (did I mention we re-located
> Thanksgiving day to Saturday, since Thursday isn't a holiday in Scotland...)
> I finally managed to find 1 rather sad butternut squash, which did for the
> pumpkin pie, and a very small box of cranberries (which I tried to stretch
> using extra sugar and water--with predictable results). He scoured the city
> for turkeys and finally came up with two scrawny birds, about 6 pounds each.
> We decided to cook them in two different ovens, at his flat, and mine (where
> the party was being held), as we were running out of time.
> After numerous calls to the states for receipes (our respective moms), we got
> the cooking under way. My (now) husband (who wasn't even my boyfriend then)
> was delegated "driver", being the only one in possession of a car. He went
> off on a shopping run with the car, and another friend from Texas who
> turned up unexpectedly on Friday night. They were sent for potatos and
> beer--and returned four hours later (with potatos, and some empties....).
> This left Hal and I communicating by telephone, or by messanger. "Runners"
> were dispatched to carry progress reports between the two flats (about 2/3
> of a mile and at least 6 pubs apart). Meanwhile, people kept arriving at my
> flat, expecting to be fed. Fortunately, we had specified BYOB,and I had
> some chips and dip (not exactly standard Thanksgiving fare), which kept them
> going until the truants returned with the car.
> Communications broke down about 7 pm, and as my bird was done, we decided to
> serve. This was in my student days, and the flat was small and
> under-furnished. We put all the food on the kitchen table, which we moved
> to the livingroom, and people sat anywhere they could--table, chair, floor,
> hallway, beds, out in the stairwell...
> About 8:30 we got the triumphant call--the other turkey was done! The
> driver was disptached to collect both the cook and the bird, which was
> snatched steaming hot from the oven, with all the fat still in the pan.
> What insued was a never-to-be-forgotten drive across Edinburgh's cobblestone
> streets, with a scorching-hot pan of turkey fat sloshing from side to side
> over both passanger and driver.
> And the gravy, you ask? In all the kaffuffel over the turkey it was
> forgotten--they had to go back for it.
> It certainly wasn't Thanksgiving the way I knew it, but nobody seemed to
> mind. I did Thanksgiving dinner every year after this, and it got easier as
> supplies became more available, but this is the meal I remember most fondly.
> Oh, and the driver (my husband)? We started dating on Sunday night....
> Happy Christmas to all,
> Ann Morton