We celebrated Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, yesterday (Saturday), and, as always, we had a wonderful time and ate wonderful food. This Thanksgiving dinner was much easier to prepare than was our Thanksgiving in 2012, probably because we know our way around Rome so much better after living here for two years and three months.
We began our shopping a few weekends ago at Castroni, a fascinating grocery store in Prati. Castroni carries foods from many nations, and we go there from time to time to get things we can’t find in other stores in Rome. That weekend we bought Libby’s canned pumpkin, Crisco, Carnation evaporated milk, and two boxes of Stove Top stuffing mix (at $10 per box—molto caro!). I spent last week shopping for fresh cranberries (Ocean Spray at $10 per bag—ouch!) and other groceries at the market in Campo dei Fiori and at our favorite neighborhood supermarket, which is really just the size of a small grocery store.
Yesterday morning we went to a pollaria (a butcher shop that specializes in chickens [pollo] and other fowl) near Campo dei Fiori and bought a fresh 11-pound turkey, which the butcher cut up for us since our oven is so small. Michael roasted the breast, froze some of the other large pieces, and made stock out of the rest.
Several old friends and some new ones joined us for our feast. Serafini & Vidoto provided Bollicine di Prosecco, a fresh and lively prosecco that we drank while we were cooking (a Thanksgiving tradition). As usual, the staff from Bon Appetit guided us as we made our favorite cranberry sauce (which I wrote about last year and which is always on our Thanksgiving menu), Cranberry Port Conserve. Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, the authors of the Silver Palate cookbooks fed us Grand Marnier Apricot Stuffing, another favorite that appears frequently on our Thanksgiving plate. Julia Child supervised her peerless braised endives (so simple and so refreshing with the richness of the other dishes) from page 299 of The Way to Cook. Michael used the same roast turkey recipe that he used last year with sage rub under and on the skin, and he made his delicious mashed potatoes and turkey gravy. With all of that we drank a wonderful 2008 Poggio al Sole Casasilia Chianti Classico Riserva that we bought in Greve-in-Chianti in September. We ended with pumpkin pie that was 50 percent good and 50 percent terrible. I tried a new pie crust recipe from a chef that shall go unnamed, and it was awful. It tasted like and had the texture of crackers! The Libby’s filling is always great though, so we just scraped it out of the crust, ate it, and threw the crust away. I finally have learned my lesson and henceforth will use only my mom’s pie crust recipe. As my siblings will affirm, she made THE BEST pie crust and pies on earth!
I’m so full and so thankful for Thanksgiving. I hope yours was every bit as fun and delicious!