Happy Thanksgiving to my North American friends.
This Thanksgiving day millions of North Americans will eat turkey, but here in Iquitos Peru, Marmelita, my son Matt, and I will eat young goat, cooked in the oven, with goat gravy and tacu-tacu, one of my favorite meals in Iquitos. Of course not all goat meals are created equal. The Huaralino restaurant serves the best goat meal I know of, and that is where we will be thankful today.
On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 29th, we’re fixin’ up a big traditional Thanksgiving Dinner of turkey, noodles, dressing, roasted potatoes, fried Paddy Straw Mushrooms, (Ok your right, that’s not traditional) for 90 to 100 people at the Amazon Golf Course Clubhouse. You are invited. If you will be in Iquitos, consider yourself family, and plan to join us for a delicious meal.
The New York Times reported today that 765,000 people had searched turkey recipes at allrecipes.com. For most of the day before Thanksgiving the site was handling one million page views per hour, including 100,000 searches for mashed potato recipes, and the most searched for term of all, “sweet potato casserole”. Cooks all over the United States were nervous today about cooking a memorable feast for family and friends.
The first of this week I was feeling nervous myself about cooking a big meal for over 100 hungry people but as we have gotten more and more organized I am not nervous now. We have an idea for our portions per guest and a plan for the cooking. We have six 5 kilo turkeys, seven kilos of pollenta for the cornbread dressing, 7 kilos of dried egg noodles and 40 large potatoes. We will make a rich broth from chicken wings on Friday, refrigerate it, skim off the fat Saturday, use part of the broth to moisten Grannies Southern Corn Bread Dressing that we will recreate on Saturday, then refrigerate, and warm up in the oven on Sunday. We have borrowed refrigerator space from family and friends for broth, turkeys, and dressing. We have rented a large oven to cook the turkeys and potatoes. Most of the broth will be used to cook the noodles Sunday morning.
We will get up at 4:00am to prepare the turkeys to start cooking around 6:00am. We will put two apples, two onions, a bulb of garlic, and a big chunk of ginger in each turkey to add flavor and moisture during the roasting process, and roast the potatoes in the same pans with the turkeys. Jeremiah will fry the mushrooms at the Amazon Golf Course Sunday starting around 11:30. We plan to start serving the meal at noon. That’s the plan. We have three great cooks, a great organizer, and me, working to turn the plan into action. I expect this will be a meal like Grannie taught me, and an event you will remember next year.