Buon Tacchino

Four years ago today my family was introduced to the wonderful world of heroin. Yay! My brother came high to Thanksgiving dinner to tell us he was flying to Florida because he needed some time to chill.  It was awful and unfortunately, we didn't even know the half of it.  The long sordid tale of hurt, heartbreak, and addiction began today 4 years ago.  My fondness for Thanksgiving left just as my brother did. There was a time that Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday.  I have countless memories of amazing meals made by my grandma and late nights hanging out with my cousins. The night before Thanksgiving was my favorite night of the year, thanks in part to the Strongsville Cafe.    I would meet up with my girls, drink vodka until I thought pool hopping was a good idea, and head home nice and hungry for the next day's feast.  Those days are long gone and I have absolutely no desire to drink till stupidity but I do miss the feeling of joy that Thanksgiving gave me.   Today as I reflect on my many wonderful Thanksgiving's, I find myself drifting to my memories of my Italian Thanksgiving.

I lived in Italy when I was 21.  I shared an apartment with 2 Italian girls and went to school at American University (with Americans).  We formed a tight group and when Thanksgiving rolled around we all wanted to celebrate.  The problem was that Italy doesn't do Thanksgiving.  Nor do the people eat turkey.  Or green bean casserole.

The school set up a delivery of turkey's to the local supermarket and my friend Ry and I set out on foot to pick our bird up.  We arrived and met our dinner.  He had a head...and feathers.  He was also 40 lbs.  Ry carried him back to the apartment (almost 2 miles) and being the sissy pants that I am, I delegated the plucking and the decapitation to him.  In the meantime I began my mad search for the ingredients to make green bean casserole, my favorite t-give dish.

I found myself back at the grocery store searching for Campbell's mushroom soup.  They didn't have it.  SHOCKER.  I decided that I would make it from scratch.  I trudged across town to my school, got on the interwebs, and printed a recipe.  I headed back to the store to buy the soup ingredients and realized I hadn't bought fried onions.  Guess what?   Italian supermarkets don't have fried onions.  I decided again to go from scratch.  I would buy onions and eggs and flour and deep fry them myself.  For a girl that had never really cooked before I was apparently feeling quite adventurous.  That or I was extremely high.

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Ry dazzles me with his basting skills on the stove that will soon be aflame

My walk back to the apartment was rough, but I kept my eye on the prize.  Ry had finished de-feathering and de-heading the bird so we stuffed her good with a ghetto made stuffing (think bread crumbs and eggs), put her in the oven, and moved on to the green bean casserole.  The first step of making the soup was easy.  Granted it was no Campbell's but we made do.  Second step...not so easy.  A novice cook should NEVER attempt a deep fry.  It never ends well.

In our case the pan caught on fire which then set the stove on fire.

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My girl Sonja, shows off her fire prowess

Needless to say we did not partake in green bean casserole, my roommates never talked to me again, and the smell of fire extinguisher smelled in the apartment until I moved out 6 months later.

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Thanksgiving feast, Italiano style

We did however end up with a beautiful turkey which was shared in a feast of food and wine with friends.

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The aftermath of the turkey and wine extravaganza

Happy Thanksgiving bitches.

Don't do drugs.