Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! or, Ordering a Turkey in Florence for Thanksgiving

Mom's handmade pop-up Thanksgiving card from 2011

Of course, Italians don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Usually. On the American campus where I worked in Florence, Italy, we celebrated with the students in the cafeteria and many of us hosted our own Thanksgiving dinners, too, with (curious) Italians in attendance.

The first year I was working there, I remember ordering a cooked turkey from the butcher up the street. Not yet realizing the extent to which the Florentines use the passive voice (impersonal si) - and don't mean it as a regular stand-in for a second person address - I asked the butcher if "one could roast it." Since the answer is of course yes, I hung up thinking I ordered a roasted turkey and he hung up thinking I was an idiot.

When I called to check on the turkey a few days before Thanksgiving, the butcher said it was ready when I was. I was confused since, of course, why would it already be roasted? I quickly realized my language problem. Since my oven was tiny, I ran up to the butcher shop, measuring tape in hand, and measured the raw bird every which way. I'm sure that butcher won't quickly forget our American holiday.

In the end, I was able to squeeze the bird in my oven and still pull off a delicious Thanksgiving feast for my parents and a few friends.

If you are looking to add some Italian influence to your big day, you might try some of these "Italian Thanksgiving Recipes" (or perhaps the grouping should be termed, "Italian-influenced" or "Italian-American recipes") from the Food Network. I think we'll be sticking with a more traditional stuffing, cranberry sauce and other American favorites for this Thursday's holiday.

If you are hosting this year, you might read through my anti-drama-Thanksgiving-post from a few years ago.

See you after the holiday!

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