Day 53 A Day of Rest

After all of our galavanting around the Italian hill towns, it was time to rest a bit…and besides we had a Thanksgiving dinner to prepare!  In order to feel less like we are a zillion miles from home on Thanksgiving, I decided that we were going to have an American Thanksgiving in Italy.  We invited our sweet hosts who own the beautiful property that we were staying at, La Falconara, there names are Alex and Ingrid.  They are both in their early 70’s and about the most kind and wonderful hosts you could ask for (especially when you are homesick!) When I brought up the idea of them joining us for the occasion, they were delighted!  Alex told us that getting a turkey can be quite a trick in Italy, and asked if we would be okay with a chicken?  We said we would be, and he offered to bring the chicken and the mashed potatoes!  It was a date!  Now I was excited, but a little freaked out all the same!  It is one thing to attempt to make a Thanksgiving dinner for your family, but it is a whole other story to host a dinner with actual guests!

I had found a few recipes, but it is difficult when you have limited resources in a store!  There are amazing markets everywhere and we experienced some really great ones, but they don’t always have what you need!  So off to Conad, it is like any major grocery store, we went.  Our menu ended up being chicken, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and apple pie for dessert.  Yes, it all had to be made from scratch, in a vacation apartment kitchen, ah and don’t forget to convert every measurement to metric.  This had disaster written all over it!

When I cook, it is usually the little details that get me.  Not because I don’t pay attention to them, but because I pay too much attention to them!  I start to kind of obsess…and then don’t even try to have a conversation with me!  I love to chat and talk about anything, but then my focus goes right out the window…and if you add in some wine..well then you can only imagine that chaos that ensues!

But today was shopping day, a day to make sure I had pots, pans, serving dishes to serve on, and then decorating the table!  It was a constant running up and down to Alex and Ingrid’s house above our apartment to ask for platters, or measuring cups, lots of little things we needed. So I gathered and planned…I think that keeping busy was also helping to keep my mind off the fact that we were alone in a foreign country on my favorite holiday!  I had everything set up, and then I began to panic.  What if nothing comes out right?  What if … in that vain I decided to make my apple pie the night before.  I was thinking that if I totally blew it, then I could buy one (oh I mean bake another one) the next day!  I guess on the bright side, since Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Italy all the stores are open!

Well, I did have some wine while I was cooking…it helps to make cooking more fun!  So I worked on making an apple pie.  I have a kind of crazy weird apple pie recipe that I found when we were in Slovenia that does not have brown sugar, because apparently Europe has something against brown sugar, and it has an odd recipe for the crust.  I made it in Slovenia and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe, so why not make it again?  I knew I was rolling the dice…a delicious baked treat from me can be like an artists painting…sometimes it is masterpiece and sometimes it is a hot mess!  Luckily for me, this pie, when I pulled it out of the oven had all the characteristics of a masterpiece…but how would it taste???  There was no checking…I couldn’t actually take a bite and then serve it to guests “Oh excuse me for the piece that is missing, it is just that I am a horrible cook and I wanted to make sure that it is edible.”  So we would have to wait and see….