Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving~No Turkey But Lots of Drumsticks

Izabella made me a special sign without any help so she didn't realize Thanksgiving is one word~she's so incredibly sweet. Lucky, lucky me. 


Thanksgiving has come and gone once again and I suppose I can now call this an annual post since many of you are interested in how we've celebrated our holiday and I'm always happy to share.  It's our third Thanksgiving in Greece and I think I've finally figured it out. I don't get stressed about it anymore, not like I did the first year that we were here. I was searching for a turkey off & on for a few weeks, a frozen turkey that is.(for my new readers- Greeks typically only eat turkey around Xmas, therefore it's not widely available or easy to find anytime before December )  I could've probably ordered a fresh one but I can't even begin to imagine how much that might have cost-since I've inquired before. Last year I think my local butcher said that a fresh turkey would cost about 70 euro for 7 kilos- not what I want to spend for a busy weeknight celebration. Now, if I was planning to have guests I'd probably pay whatever I had to, but that wasn't the case. So I searched for a few weeks, but didn't really go out of my way since I knew that a local grocery store always carries turkey drumsticks and I'd be perfectly happy roasting those if there was no frozen turkey to be had, which at the end of the day was the case. Before I purchased the drumsticks I bought a chicken as plan B- but alas, there were enough drumsticks to roast for my family of five. I bought the last six in the butcher's case. 

Just out of the oven...
Since I only had drumsticks to roast without a whole turkey to stuff, I placed the drumsticks on top of the stuffing and everything turned out absolutely delicious. And with these six drumsticks I had enough turkey drippings to make gravy that lasted through Friday's leftovers. 

You can see here how the drumsticks were so tender that they fell apart as I removed them from the  pan.

Along with the turkey and stuffing I made mashed potatoes and corn with dinner rolls on the side. I decided to skip salad altogether because we eat salad almost every day and I thought since there was so much food no one would eat it. But I was wrong, my salad eating little man, Foti, asked where the salad was as fixed his plate. Next year there'll be salad. And not having salad wasn't the only hitch, Alexandra wouldn't try any of the food except for the turkey and the rolls- she said, " take that other stuff off my plate." I was shocked by her demand but I suppose it's only natural for these foods to be foreign to her since she was only 10 months old when we moved here and I only make mashed potatoes & stuffing twice a year. OK, I might make mashed potatoes four times a year, but it's not enough for her to become accustomed to the flavors and textures of these foods. She didn't even like the corn, which was hard for me to believe. Most kids like corn, right? Again, it's not something we eat regularly and she's only 4 years old so I guess I can't blame her for being put off by food that she's not used to. Maybe she'll want to try something new on Christmas. 

For dessert I made an apple pie which I served with vanilla ice cream. The kids loved the apple pie so that was a winning choice. Izabella is my photographer and we laughed so hard when we saw this first photo of me holding the pie and Gigi begging for some. This is a Gigi photobomb- we have many of these. 

So Izabella insisted in taking another photo, without Gigi's little paws and here is our second attempt. My pie isn't picture perfect, let me remind you that I'm much better at cooking than baking and although my pie looks deflated, it was 100% delicious. 

We also enjoyed some cookies and cinnamon rolls that a friend of mine made. She insisted that I swing by to pick these up on my way home from the school. She didn't have to twist my arm. She's extremely thoughtful, I'm thankful for that. 

Our weather has been incredibly mild and my rose bushes are flourishing- so I was lucky enough to have beautiful roses from my own garden for our Thanksgiving table. Love my roses! 

Here's a photo of Gigi looking impatiently at me, waiting for her share of turkey. I know you can't see her eyes here, but trust me... it's the look.  

One last photo before dinner...a new favorite of mine. 

So as you can see we had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving dinner. I was organized in preparing this year and everything rolled along just as I had planned. We watched the Macy's Day parade via live feed online, made a few phone calls to friends and family, did homework and went to bed on time since the kids had school the next morning. 
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I miss celebrating with my family and friends in the U.S. because although I have started my own family tradition here in Greece, it doesn't compare to the beautiful  chaos of spending time with my immediate family or being spoiled by my mother's lemon meringue pie. (she normally makes  one just for me! ) I'm hoping that my kids will have fond memories of Thanksgiving and if we're still in Greece when they're older- I hope that they continue this important tradition. Now, on with the rest of the holiday season...ENJOY! 


  1. Cute pics as always! Your dinner looks delicious. We ended up having stuffed chicken on Monday. Wasn't quite the same but it was just the two of us and it was wonderful. =)

  2. Happy belated Thanksgiving Cheryl. Everything on your table looks good and tasty.
    Kalo mina to all of you.

  3. Wow, what a great post and gorgeous pictures my dear friend Cheryl!

  4. This was very interesting to read. Kids are just kids-they eat what they are used to eat but anyway-they always like eating something sweet. your apple pie looks good:)

  5. This must be the hardest holiday for you to celebrate here ,especially when the celebration has to take place in conjunction with homework! By the way, that turkey looks fabulous...

  6. Your children are adorable! Great post--I love Thanksgiving!

  7. Happy Thanksgiving every day, Cheryl! Nice post about making do with the drumsticks. When I first moved to Greece in 1972, I roasted two big chickens for Thanksgiving and felt soooooo lucky to find a can of pumpkin to make pumpkin pie. Can you still find pumpkin in the larger super markets?

  8. Love the Gigi photobomb! I spotted those little feet first thing. Glad you are all well. I hope it's warmer down there than up here!

  9. @ Mel...I'm glad that you had a wonderful dinner, that's what it's about anyway. Chicken is always delicious. And you know what? Today I was in Carrefour and they had frozen turkeys. They were fairly small too. I hope you have a nice weekend as well.

    @ Evie...Thank you Evie. Everything was really delicious. Kalo mina to you as well! :)

    @ Phivos...Thank you so much for the always. Have a good weekend!

    @ Ola...Yes, kids definitely know what they like. I never force them to eat anything new after they've tasted it and decided they really don't like it. :)
    Have a nice weekend Ola.

    @ Maria...It is one of the hardest holidays to celebrate because it doesn't coincide with any of the holidays here -the way that Christmas & Easter do for example. And yes, it's really hard to celebrate when homework needs to be done. :)
    and..the turkey was definitely fabulous.

    @ gretchen...Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving! :)

    @ Iosifina...Hi there! I was very happy to find the drumsticks, and we even had leftovers because they were so big. You can still find pumpkins but I didn't find one. A friend of mine found hers by accident when she was going to a locally owned supermarket. She was going in for something else when she saw the one pumpkin that they had left and barely had enough money with her to add it to her list...but she snagged it anyway because she was desperate.

    @ Syd... Hi Syd! I love all of Gigi's photobombs. I think I should go through my files and make a photobomb video, they're always so funny.
    It's much warmer down here, unseasonably warm which is ok. Although my lilacs have partially bloomed and today I saw an almond tree with blossoms--everything is confused.
    Always great to hear from you. Have a great weekend!! :)

  10. Looks like a great T-day celebration and feast to me, CC! I just want to know if Gigi got any pie?!?! ;)

  11. Hi Cheryl,
    Happy Belated Thanksgiving. I have never celebrated Thanksgiving in Greece;my first trip I was there for 2, married , by the second. I actually booked a ticket back to US for Thanksgiving, then arrived to find out it had already passed! We were there in 07, I just some how forgot about it as soon as we crossed the Atlantic. Of course, last year, my husband was sick. Thankfully, we are back home, so this year I made the sides, but had wild caught salmon, which is a treat,because I am in the Nativity fast. This is always a dilemma for me, I always cooked turkey for the family, but my mother and aunt died while I was in Greece, and our last aunt died before Thanksgiving. I did do all the sides, just gently boiled. with a pat of butter and olive oil. We live in Western Mass and have all the farm squashes , brussel sprouts , cabbage and carrots! I did have a Greek- American friend over for St Phillips day, which is the Apokrees before the fast; I made beftekia with a lot of ground veggies and brussel sprouts with maple syrup (stir fried), organic local mash potatoes, lovely- she proclaimed it gourmet! There was a potluck at the neighborhood New England church ( with white steeple), which is closing, the people are very good, I brought the same bifteks and Sephardic style cauliflower fritters, they disappeared. So I guess we had a pre- thanksgiving!
    The first year in Greece, me a 18, I spent Christmas at my uncle's who had a gaggle of turkeys in his yard. Imagine my surprise when I say the turkey has been boiled! He saw my face, and having lived in the US, he said, I know this is not an American Christmas with your "tourko", but we have had a strict fast for 15 days, so we need to ease in to meat, the next day we will have the real stuff- the next day was gizzard scramble, I politely pushed the eggs away and nibbled on the gizzards- oh and church was not at midnight but at 5:AM!
    I am so glad you are doing this for your children! Alexandra will learn!
    Hronia Polla for Victoria- Nike and to all the Barbaras today!

  12. i'm surprised to find that greeks eat turkey at all - news to me!

    so smart of you cheryl, to roast the drumsticks -- and i bet they tasted delicious!

  13. @ Caveman Cooking...It was great~ but Gigi didn't get pie. She did get a lot of turkey though! :D

    @ Maria... Thank you, it's so good to hear from you Maria. Your pre-Thanksgiving feast sounds wonderful, very interesting combination of foods and I'm sure all very delicious.

    Your story about the turkey in Greece is so funny & interesting.
    We had a name day celebration for Iza yesterday, for her middle name and she was delighted. I made her brizoles ( pork shoulder) with homemake fries & argura/domata salad on the side...per her request.
    Thank you for all of the wishes and most of all, for your visit. It's always nice to hear from you. Kales Yiortes!

    @ Amanda...Thank you. I was ready to stuff a chicken though! Everything was really delicious-most of us fight over the drumsticks when we only have two so it worked out fine. :) The frozen turkeys are in the stores now. I'll buy an extra one before they're sold out, just in case I have the urge to roast one in let's say...February? Hope you're doing well! :)