OK, so the whole point of getting the oversized oven for the B&B was the Thanksgiving Turkey. How many years this endeavor had been foiled by the reduced dimensions of European ovens, but this year no. It wasn't easy but we're ready, hopefully photos later.
The Thanksgiving scavenger hunt started months ago...the most challenging task was finding the source for cranberries, second only to finding the real name of cranberries in Italian (thank God for Internet!). Cranberry juice can now be found in some health food stores and of course our well stocked Molesini grocery store, but always labelled as Mirtilli Rossi. Not exact. I sent the first search and retrieve request to Roberto, the best furnished green grocer in town at the end of September. One month prior and he still couldn't get the supplier. No one knew what he wanted. We had found a small basket of them once, mixed in with the strawberries, raspberries and blueberries one winter in a year long lost in our memories ago-but no one could recall where they came from.
Back to the drawing board, I was more thorough this time I "Googled" and printed out pictures, latin name and another Italian name "mirtilli palustri", native to North America, imported by Dole. Armed with further information Roberto perservered. There was a slight detour when I ended up with 22 lbs of Quince when I thought I would have to settle for a substitute, but sure enough, I received a call from Roberto. He could procure them. Minimum order 6.5 kilos (roughly 15lbs) and he would pass them on to me at cost (65 Euros!!!) we had come too far to let mere Euros stand in the way-DO IT! I said, feeling like I had the bird of paradise in the cross-hairs of my high power rifle (no I don't have a rifle or a hunting license I just like the image). And so on Monday, a smugly satisfied Roberto delivered 6.8 kilos of cranberries (Ocean Spray from Canada at that!).
The Bird itself was the next challenge. The first Turkey order intention warnings had been placed in September as well and followed up on in the months after. How large is always the dilemma. If one has a group which can be satisfied with a 6-7 kg bird (our famous 15lbs) then a tacchinella can be ordered, that is, a female bird. If you need any larger then a tom turkey must be ordered...hmmm. I have to feed 16 or so. I put in my order for a 9-10 kg. turkey (max). Second snag, I run into the butcher and his wife on the street a few days ago- the turkeys have arrived, they are upset with the supplier, he could only send a 6.5kg and a 13+kg bird. I go home and pull out the tape measure, size up the oven. Upon doing so I slip the tape measure into my pocket and it's off to the butcher's.
Upon my arrival in the small shop, the butcher and his sons rush in the back to pull out the now famous turkey. Onlookers are amused as I pull out my tape measure and size it up. The butcher tries to be helpful. "Well, if you want I can chop off the legs"--No, that would be sacrilege.."or we could chop off the part where the wings are attached"--you just don't understand, the bird has to be whole.
Years prior I had to accept such compromises, roasting only a thigh and a breast, buying a mini turkey, no, this year was special- I had demanded and obtained the 22" wide, 11" high, 18" deep oven-there could be no compromise this year.
The good news is that this turkey is 20 inches long 10 inches high at it's highest point and I didn't measure the width but it seems to fit.
Thanksgiving will arrive in Cortona this year...if only I had planned it better and had a few more days, I could have foraged for sweet potatoes in Arezzo.
Blessings to all this holiday-we have many to count this year-hope you do too.
Update and photos to follow turkey stupor.