Since neither of us are huge fans of Halloween, we count Thanksgiving as the first American holiday not celebrated here that we’ve had to work with so far. We missed getting to spend time with our families, but it was also nice for us to start our own traditions. I told the Dutch woman to whom I give clarinet lessons that I put jalepenos in our cornbread dressing and she said, “I have no idea what any of those things mean!”
Dutch grocery shopping is usually done several times a week on your way home from work or school, in which you grab a few things to hold you over for a day or two. Most days I like that system, but it can be inconvenient when you’re planning a bigger meal because the stores are small and limited in variety. It took a few trips to a few different places to pull together all the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner.
I was able to stock up on most of the vegetables and our chicken (no turkeys here) at the open-air market. Held every Tuesday and Saturday, the Blaak market takes up several streets with over 450 stands selling really cheap produce, baked goods (not those kind of baked goods!), fish, poultry, cheese, textiles, plants, and more. The only problem is that it’s just a little…
And did you know that the Dutch are not a queuing culture? That’s right, if you want to get helped at the market, you don’t wait, you push through the crowd. I’m still in the beginnings of embracing this, but handling the knots of people gets a little easier every time. Except today I might have appeared to be shoplifting when I was putting fruit in a bag and got swept several feet from the stand by a large family before I could pay. I’m coming back, I PROMISE.
Personal space does not seem to be as high of a priority, so getting shoved around apparently doesn’t phase people as much as in America. Adjusting to this culture has also proved difficult for us as we’ve traded our previous road rage to sidewalk rage. Or crowd rage.
Anyway, after acquiring all the supplies, the next task was figuring out how to produce a bird and all the fixin’s in this:
I took these pictures when we first moved in because I had to do a presentation on where I live for class. On a day I’m teaching in the apartment (translation: it’s clean) I should give you a tour of it. We got the last of our necessary furniture this week! (yes, I know it’s November.)
Okay, so this last picture is of our hallway, but it’s also our utility room and bathroom sink. I call it The Weird Room. Will calls it The Ugly Room. The flower stickers on the cabinet and dishwasher are from the previous residents and we have yet to be able to get them off.
Back to dinner. You’re probably looking at the thing I circled and thinking, “Wow, that’s a big-ass microwave!” And I also thought that the first time I saw our OVEN. It fits one pan that’s about the size of a US 9 X 13″ snugly.
But, with a little planning, a lot of cooking stretched out over a few days, and 5 power outages due to the continuous oven use, we had this:
That poor little chicken was almost too tall for the inside of the oven! Not pictured is a pumpkin pie.
And this week I came home to another thing to add to my Thankful list: