Cultural letter #8 Letís compare Thanksgiving


Dear friends,


Thanksgiving happens to be, in my opinion, one of the nicest holidays that we have.Did you realize that missionaries all over the world celebrate it? (American missionaries, that is)Well, I wanted to let you compare how I located/fixed ingredients for this traditional Thanksgiving Dinner here in Poland, and what I have done.So, here goes. Compare it with what you did, ladies.It hasn't been as hard as you might think, but there are a few differences.


My menu this year is:

Roast Turkey with Gravy (not giblet)

Bread Stuffing

Sweet Corn

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Mike's Grandma's Fruit Salad

Mashed Potatoes

Yeast Rolls

Different jams

Cranberry Sauce


Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, and Blackberry Pie

Whipped Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream


Right now my turkey is in the oven cooking. I went two days ago to the store, where there was ONE whole turkey at about 10 am.I grabbed it. It cost almost $1/lb. It weighs almost 14 lbs.(This particular store I knew puts in about 2 or 3 a day--it is a huge supermarket.)There are no giblets and I had to finish picking off some of the small feathers.Otherwise, it is the same.(If you got your 20 lb-er for 39cents/lb, don't tell me about it!) :)


Bread Stuffing.I opened my B.C. Cookbook to Stuffing and followed the recipe. I made sure I bought some white bread yesterday and cut it up this morning into squares and followed the recipe from them. I forgot to get regular celery at that big supermarket on Tuesday, so I bought the root "Seler" and grated it up instead of regular celery. It works the same, as far as I can tell. The color is white though, so it isn't as pretty.I can't find regular celery just anywhere--only a few places carry it. I can't purchase Pepperidge Farms prepackaged mix or Stovetop Stuffing.


Sweet Corn.I almost goofed here.Mike really likes frozen sweet corn, not canned. There is only ONE store that sells it right now, and it is located "not close"--40 min. or so from here. I thought we were going to have to resort to canned but I dug out the last two packages out of the bottom of my chest freezer.I was hoping I'd find some down there amidst the berries that I need to make jam with. (and I did) The canned corn mostly tastes like field corn with sugar added (on the side of the can they say that they add sugar).


Candied Sweet Potatoes.The men who came from Berean brought me several cans of sweet potatoes last year.I'm hoarding them for one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas dinner until they are gone.I have brown sugar from them also, but we can buy it now here, but it is 3x as expensive as there in the states.We bought some when we went to Denmark in 1997 and I still have some from there.The marshmallows I can use on the top--plain white--someone sent me.We can buy flavored marshmallows which work okay in a fruit salad, but not so well for this.


Broccoli with Cheese sauce. I purchased packaged frozen broccoli and I made the cheese sauce using B.C. (that's Betty Crocker) with "real Gouda cheese" in a white sauce.It isn't very yellow though. I thought I might add some yellow food coloring to make it prettier but I haven't done it yet.


Mike's Grandma's Fruit Salad.I canned the Royal Ann Cherries necessary for this in the summer when they were available and hoard them for this salad and special times. Also, the maraschino cherries, while available here occasionally at about $5/jar, were provided by the Berean men a year ago. The rest of the ingredients are available here, no problem. I use the "real" whipping cream--36%.Terrible for you.Frozen whipped topping isn't available but whipped topping in an aerosol can or "make your own from a powder" is.


Mashed Potatoes.No "flakes" for us.Abby helped me peel them and they will get turned on in a minute or two.


Yeast Rolls.No brown and serve available here.I mixed up the dough a couple of hours ago from a recipe from a friend in FL.I use fresh yeast as it is "very cheap" and very good.I use 2/5 of a "cake" of yeast for this recipe. Otherwise, I do the same as if I were using dry yeast. We can buy it here, but I rarely do since the other is so available.


Jam.Some I made, some I bought.


Cranberry sauce. One year I tried to make it and I wasn't particularly pleased. Since then I've noticed it is available to buy.It has whole berries in it.There isn't any "jellied" kind.


Pumpkin Pie.I planted pumpkin seeds, grew the pumpkins and cooked it up.You can buy pumpkins here, but I've never seen canned pumpkin, much less pumpkin pie filling.Most people here haven't tasted it.The crust is the old-fashioned, roll it out yourself kind, not the kind you buy premade.


Apple Pie.Someone gave me the apples--a neighbor.The kids peeled them and I made it.


Blackberry Pie.The blackberries came up volunteer in the yard while we were on furlough.Some I did transplant, but most of the blackberries are from the volunteer patch.


Whipped Topping. I bought the kind in an aerosol can this year. I figured the "real" stuff in the fruit salad was enough cholesterol for us.


Vanilla Ice Cream. No problem to purchase here.All Polish people love and eat ice cream.†† (Well, I'm not sure of that, of course, as I don't know all people--but it is very popular.)


So there you go.Everything, except the "whipped cream" is done the "slow way".But, it is available and we are so thankful.With a little "preplanning" and thought, we can have the same dinner as you! (we could have green bean casserole but my family doesn't like it.)We are having some company here in a few minutes to help us share the dinner. I just wanted to share with you what we do over here.


Have a great Thanksgiving!We have so much to be grateful for. Let us take the time to truly thank God for his blessings to us.


(The kids had school like normal today. We are eating at 5 pm because of that. Of course, it's not a holiday here.)


In Warsaw,

Becky Petersen