In American culture you have not come of age until you have cooked a turkey and hosted a Thanksgiving meal with enough people that you are forced to resort to the foldout chairs. I reached this marker last year, just short of my 40th birthday (I’m a late bloomer), with nine people at the table. This past weekend I took it a step further with a cool 15 people at the meal, not at the table as people were forced to sit wherever they could find space – chairs, sofa, floor.
There is an Italian connection to this Thanksgiving meal, and hence an explanation for this post. First off, me being in Italy dictated that the meal be held on Saturday instead of Thursday because the Italians for some reason don’t celebrate this terrific holiday. This is, I know, a bit sacrilegious, but living here in Milan I’ve gotten used to this necessity. Secondly, in true big-Italian-family fashion, the bulk of the guests were cousins of my wife with five showing up unannounced. The more the merrier, this is Thanksgiving after all.
My turkeys are still a tad dry and I don’t have the carving down too well, but with two Thanksgiving meals under my belt (literally and figuratively) I have officially entered manhood. Now that’s something to celebrate, finally, as I’m not going to see the other side of 39 anytime soon.
A last thought, though I need to perfect the turkey, my stuffing is great so if you want to invite me next year that’s what I’ll bring.
This is really the last thought: I read on many sites that you need about a pound of turkey – pre-cook weight – per person to satisfy all guests and have a little leftover. My turkey was nine pounds on the dot and we feed 15 and had enough for three people to have lunch the next day. Perhaps there’s a simple explanation and that is that the Italian cousins didn’t understand a key part of the Thanksgiving meal is to eat until you have to unbutton the pants and open the belt. I’ll explain that better next year.