Thanksgiving has always been our favorite holiday, a celebration of the feast, but there’s no damn turkeys in Brisbane for Canadian Thanksgiving, and it’s too damn hot to be cooking for American Thanksgiving at the end of November.
Whole turkeys have started showing up in Coles and Woolies – the Australian duopoly — in the past two weeks at about $10/kg; in North America they’re about $2.00/kg, but I may be aging myself.
Five years ago, I specially sourced a whole turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving in early Oct., in Brisbane, and it was about $20/kg. Never again.
Thanksgiving (French: Action de grâce), or Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l’action de grâce) is an annual Canadian holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year.
Thanksgiving has been officially celebrated as an annual holiday in Canada since November 6, 1879, when parliament passed a law designating a national day of thanksgiving, although the first Canadian Thanksgiving is thought by some to have occurred on Baffin Island in 1578 while some English dudes were looking for the Northwest Passage.
The first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872, to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.
According to wikii, tthe event that Americans commonly call First Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. This feast lasted three days, and—as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow—it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.
On Sat. Nov. 19 – it was the best date to fit around hockey schedules while accommodating the Canadian feast and the 6-week American orgy of food and shopping that begins this coming Thurs – we gathered 40 of our Australian friends at a local park on the river, and had a feast.
The two 10kg turkeys were purchased on Tues., Nov.15.
They sat on the counter for 12 hours and then 3-4 days in the fridge.
Amy made butter tarts, a carrot salad and a citrus-based turkey the day before.
Saturday, I was on the ice at 6.am. and then came home (sore) to make my bird, a traditional Alton-Brown-based variety (I like his science).
I took Amy to the park at 11ish a.m., to stake out BBQ and table space. (Brisbane has fabulous parks, especially along the river, because they have a 500-year-flood every 50 years, so parks better than houses. These parks have the best bathrooms, sanitation and free BBQs than in any other city I’ve been in.)
By our 1 p.m. start time, I had two turkeys, a gluten-free and a regular dressing (because it wasn’t inside the bird), and the best gravy I’ve ever made.
When I delivered to the park, people had started assembling, kids were running around, the river breezes were cool as Brisbane moves into summer,
As I had written to our guests in the invite, “Think of it as a giant pot-luck, but you better practice decent food safety – no raw egg dishes, including homemade mayo, aioli or sauces – or your dish is consigned to the bin and covered in bleach (because that’s how health inspectors roll).
“The deal is, we’ve invited a bunch of people, and we’ll do it at Tennyson Park so the kids can run around.
Amy and I along with the capable assistance of chef Alex will bring the tip-sensitive digital thermometer-verified safe turkey (and gravy, you can’t overcook a turkey, that’s what the gravy’s for). Two kinds of stuffing – one gluten-free, one regular, which will be cooked outside of the bird (food safety 101).
I mangled the turkey Amy cooked Friday night, and once I had started carving into the one I cooked Saturday a.m., a hockey parent who knows his why around a bird kindly asked, ”Would you like me to take over?
The other families bring something: rolls, mashed potatoes, salad, cooked carrots, green beans, apple pie, beverages, cutlery, whatever, as long as it is microbiologically safe. And wash your damn hands before everyone gets hepatitis A (we’re vaccinated, the rest are on your own; for a pre-meal vindication, I can explain how hep A is spread amongst humans).
Oh, and I’ve got a face for radio and a voice for print. But it was fun.
However, in the videobelow, I was trying to say, “You may know me because I coach your kid in hockey,” not “hit your kid in hockey.”
We are thankful to have so many and great friends in Brisbane.