Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Oh, Thanksgiving. So, poor planning resulted in a small two-person fun-fest what was supposed to be a 4-5 person pot luck. To be honest, it was probably better off as a two-person fun-fest; mainly because the two of us couldn't cook very well. Nor did we have anything prepared 'til late at night, so if there were any other guests present, they'd probably be pretty pissed off.

So, my buddy John invited me and a few other ALTs to his place the weekend after Thanksgiving for some festivities. He ordered a hefty amount of turkey meat that we would cook (bake?) and we had planned to hit up the supermarket for ingredients for other Thanksgiving dishes: mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn-on-the-cob. The image in our minds was a grand feast.

Instead, we got a grand laugh.

First off, the turkey meat we had, while very little compared to a normal turkey, was still pretty damn huge for the two of us. He ordered enough meat for 5 people; heavy helpings each (so more like 8-10 people). So with just the two of us, we decided to use a little less than half of the meat. Well, with a big hunk of meat and no oven, how were we supposed to cook it? Oh, right, with the microwave.

So, the fascinating thing about Japanese microwaves is that they are part microwave and part oven. I don't really know how the oven part works; maybe just like any other oven? I imagine the microwave parts would get destroyed with that sort of heat. But apparently not, 'cause that's what it was designed to do. So yeah, we used the microwave as an oven. Neither of us really knew what we were doing, so we used our best judgment and thought things out. The turkey turned out well cooked; not burned, but a bit dry. But at least it wasn't raw. Objective completed!

At the supermarket, it was surprisingly difficult to find certain ingredients. Like corn. Eventually we found it...frozen... and not on the cob. John was disappointed. He was looking forward to it quite a bit. We bought the frozen corn anyway, but didn't end up eating it 'cause we were stuffed from the other dishes.

John made the mashed potatoes and I made the stuffing. And DAMN was it good! We didn't have any stock for the stuffing, so John suggested using the soup from a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. What a wonderful suggestion, 'cause it tasted damn awesome. I just wish I cut the bread cubes and celery bits a little smaller. The mashed potatoes turned out pretty well, too! But what didn't was the gravy.

We had never made gravy ourselves before, so we scoured the internet for some recipes. The main idea was to use the turkey runoff as the base for the gravy, add some salt and spices to flavor it, and add flour to thicken it up. Weeelllll, we added too much flour, so it basically tasted like uncooked pancake batter. So, after using some of the gravy for the turkey, we cooked the batter and made a "gravy pancake."

We also decided to make Yaki-Campbells. It's like Yakisoba, but instead of frying soba noodles, we fried the remaining contents of the can of chicken noodle soup. Nice. What a feast.

Word of the day: 感謝祭 「かんしゃさい」 "kanshasai," which means "Thanksgiving (Day)."

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