By the end of September, it was quite obvious that the Fall season was approaching much faster than in Canada; the weather was getting cooler, the leaves were changing colours, and it was raining nearly every fucking day. The change in weather awakened my inner basic-bitch, I wanted to do all the things that were related to Fall fun. Unfortunately, I learned that Germans aren’t as interested in apple orchards, pumpkin picking or haunted houses as my fellow Canadians are, because of this, there hasn’t been any typical Fall festivities, until today…
We have approached our first official holiday abroad without family; Thanksgiving, this weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving up in the great, white North. I don’t know about you, but I love this holiday and it’s always a great time in my hometown because everyone that is away for school or otherwise comes home for a long-weekend of debauchery. My Mom makes enough Jigs Dinner to feed a small army and my cousin, Abbie and I, usually get a little day-drunk. As I was having a hard time finding apple orchards or pumpkin patches these last few weeks to continue some of my favourite holiday traditions, I decided that for Thanksgiving I would maintain the one tradition I could control - food. Prior to moving, I was gifted a Newfie cookbook that was supposed to have handwritten, step-by-step instructions for cooking the perfect Jigs Dinner, but to my dismay when I had consulted this cookbook for guidance I found out that there was no such thing and I was completely on my own. Google cannot help you here and Siri doesn’t have the answers.
I powered through this first obstacle, and I figured I could kind of wing it. For every holiday meal or special occasion, I have seen my Mom slave away in the kitchen for hours on end while she makes a beast of a Jigs Dinner for our family to devour. I thought I had seen it happen enough times that I could manage. First and foremost, finding all the essentials for this meal was impossible, sadly I started prepping the meal this morning without any split-peas and that in itself was an emotional obstacle. I then had prepped far too many vegetables to fit in my sad, small, European pot and because of this I had the pot filled to maximum capacity with water and vegetables and then various bowls were scattered around my kitchen that held the remainder of my vegetables. The kitchen was a disaster and what I was trying to cook was no where near reminiscent of a proper Jigs Dinner. I had barely begun and I had felt that I already lost the battle that is Jigs Dinner, I thought I could wing it and I was wrong; twenty minutes, two mimosas and a breakdown into this endeavour I had to wake up my Mom at 4:00AM (her time), to figure out what I was doing wrong.
After what felt like an eternity, my Mother had answered my cries for help and FaceTimed me; I showed her the disaster that was my kitchen and she began to walk me through the steps of properly cooking a Jigs Dinner.
The reason she starts cooking so early and why it takes so long for her traditional Jigs Dinner is because she also prepares meat. I’m a vegetarian, so I was skipping this step but, I just assumed that vegetables would take a long time to cook because they’re hard. Surprise! They don’t take that long to cook and this is why the majority of my dinner was nearly cooked at 9:30AM this morning. The next step was preparing the stuffing; I am without a food processor or a blender and the only breadcrumbs I’ve been able to find have been of the panko variety, so when I was trying to make stuffing I was at a bit of a loss because I had one full loaf of sliced bread and half of a baguette and no real way of turning those into breadcrumbs for stuffing.
Thankfully, a little ingenuity and patience went a long way into creating breadcrumbs this morning. Nick was a trooper and used a cheese grater to shred half a baguette into teeny-tiny bits for stuffing. At this point, most of the hard work is done. I’ve got a better idea of what the hell I’m doing and am able to cook the rest of the extra vegetables that are in bowls around my kitchen; my Mom has ended our FaceTime and gone back to bed and the kitchen had been reverted to it’s original state. All I have to do now is make some veggie-friendly gravy and sit down to hopefully enjoy my first attempt at Jigs Dinner.
Here’s to hoping that my Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t taste as disastrous as it was to prepare!