France has wonderful tasting and textured, farm raised turkeys. Before we left for France, I promised my husband that I would make a full Thanksgiving meal and invite some of our friends so that they could experience the food and history associated with one of our most popular holidays. We packed cranberry sauce, fried onions and mushroom soup because I knew they were not available in our part of France, or maybe in no part 🙂
5 days before Thanksgiving at the farmers’ market:
Me: Do you have any whole turkeys?
Them: It’s not the whole turkey season. It’s usually at the end of November.
Me: It is the end of November.
Them: Or more likely the beginning of December.
I knew what I had to do! The multi-award winning traiteur/butcher Trotoux specializes in the finest quality of poultry and meats in Sens. Yes, he is expensive but always worth it. No question of “if” but of when, size and what breed. When my turkey arrived, like farm fresh turkeys here always do; feathers, head, feet, Trotoux began to demonstrate his expertise, gathering a crowd as he “civilized” the bird in the only way I would accept it. Really, people took seats to watch!
In the end I had a featherless, headless and feetless pretty 10 lb turkey that I seasoned with salt and pepper, stuffed the cavities with carrots, onions and celery, closed up and slathered with butter before nestling it on a bed of onions and apples, ready for the oven.
Our meal began with a pumpkin soup, similar to the Haitian soupe giramon but without the scotch bonnets. The ambiance would have been killed with the streaming eyes, hacking coughs and stricken looks of the French. Pity 😀 I adore these little potimarron pumpkins/squash!
Bertrand, the blog photo police kept reminding me to take photos for the blog between pauses in his total, conversational enjoyment with the rest of the guests. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about taking photos because of the artificial light in the kitchen and dining room but, under pressure, I did take a few 🙂
I thought Thierry took the prize for the most artistic and tastefully arranged plate. The main course was roasted turkey, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, giblet gravy and canned cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce was a surprising treat for our French guests who had never heard of nor tasted it. They loved it!
My husband made an American apple pie. Our group talked a bit about how American “pie” was not the equivalent of French tarte.
While we agreed that both were good, the differences in the pastry, fruit preparation and spices used make one a tarte and the other a pie.
I also made strawberry ice cream with Picard frozen strawberries (not the season) and fresh cream from the farmers’ market. No picture, the photo blog policeman was eating his dessert 😀
I found this picture in my camera from a small meal we shared with the chef/owner of Chez Guy who instructed us on how it is eaten. The cake comes with a small container filled with rum that is injected into the cake just before eating. I thought that was cool.