“Remove the dumb turkey, if desired, the dumb poderoa be used in a crumbly, the turkey is ready to bake. Additional seasoning is not necessary.”

Those were the Google translated instructions for cooking my twin 4 kg. turkeys here in Sao Paulo. Well, they may have been dumb, and I had to make do without a crumbly, but they turned out beautifully.

We hosted 18 people on Thanksgiving, and served turkey, ham, two styles of dressing, peas, asparagus, mashed potatoes, mashed white sweet potatoes, fruit salad, tomatoes and mozzarella salad, bread, button mushrooms, and gravy. What a feast, and what a feat with one small oven in a small kitchen.

The guests brought wine and appetizers and desserts, which made the whole enterprise possible. Our guests include the U. S. Consul General and his wife, and many friends and family members with whom Tom works. A great group of people. We found out later that this was the first time in twenty years that the C.G. and his wife hadn’t hosted the Thanksgiving feast. I was delighted when they accepted our invitation, and now am doubly so, knowing that they enjoyed simply being guests and not hosts.

We had three great helpers in the kitchen during the last-minute preparations. Chloe and Sophie-Claire Posner (pictured) and their brother Dylan, were excellent sou-chefs.

There was plenty of food, and great companionship, so I think I can rate the day a success. We have some ham left over, lots of fruit salad, some stuffing, and numerous half pies. Oh, and I found that I had forgotten to put out about a third of the turkey…after stressing that we didn’t have enough! Too much on my mind…that’s my only excuse.

And my, how I babied those turkeys! I must have added a quart of broth to the turkeys as I basted them throughout the cooking cycle, and yet, each time I opened the oven to baste, all the liquid was gone. Apparently, this is common with most turkeys, unlike the Butterballs in the States that have been “pre-hydrated” to be big and moist. As luck would have it, I made a big pot of broth the day before, to “add” to the turkey drippings to make gravy. Thank goodness, or I would have been up a creek come time to make the gravy!

The potatoes were tasty, but not at all fluffy. We used local potatoes, but I guess they’re not meant to be mashed (see background of photo; and that’s all fresh fruit in the foreground).

A few things we couldn’t find here: fresh cranberries or canned cranberry, pureed pumpkin, evaporated milk, and certainly no instant potato spuds (for emergencies when potatoes turn to sticky starch). Tom and I shopped at five different stores looking for everything we needed, but couldn’t find those anywhere, even at the stores that carry “American” foods. Gotta get the commissary to order some of these for next year.

None of this Thanksgiving feast would have been possible without Tom, my Partner in Crime, who carried half the load and stayed up with me washing dishes for hours after the last guests departed. (I was going to take a photo of the kitchen, with dishes piled at least a foot high on every possible counter and stove surface, but instead dove into the first pile, then the next pile, then the next, and the next. Two and a half hours later, Tom dried the last fork.)

And thus, the holiday season 2012 has begun.