Friendsgiving dinner 2016 (+ recipes)

First of all, please let me introduce you to Jacques! Those of you who follow me on Instagram might know Jacques already. Our relationship was short, but amazing since he was just perfect. I took him home with me on Thursday evening and he spent most of his time in my bathtub, making Canavar go crazy. Jacques seriously was the best turkey ever. Almost 17 pounds, first frozen, but after more than a day in my bathroom and six hours in the oven really hot and perfectly tanned roasted.

Fast rewind: Last year we were four friends – two Americans, two Germans – who celebrated Friendsgiving on the weekend before Thanksgiving [here]. This year we wanted to repeat this, but invited two more people. And somehow I ended up hosting the event. To be honest I didn’t exactly jump for joy, but it was okay, esp. when my roommate told me that she wouldn’t be here this weekend. Our kitchen is tiny and I really needed all the space. I cursed again when I bought the turkey on Thursday after work and had to carry the frozen bird on the bus. 17 pounds are heavy. Only the 10 pound turkeys looked too small which is why I decided to buy wonderful Jacques.


Everything I knew about roasting big birds derived from that one Christmas goose I roasted in Istanbul several years ago. So I did some research last week, and so I happily got to work on Saturday morning. Jacques went into the oven at 11 a.m. as planned, and so I had plenty of time to get everything ready until my friends arrived shortly after 3 p.m. I had bought everything I needed the days before because I knew I wouldn’t leave the house anymore with a turkey in the oven. My biggest problem was actually finding twine to stitch up Jacques after I had stuffed him. There wasn’t any twine in the supermarket, even though the women at the information desk also wondered why they didn’t sell it during Thanksgiving season. Luckily, there is a hardware store next to that supermarket and they have the right thread.


We had a list of things that everybody would bring. So I actually was only responsible for the turkey and the breadrolls besides hosting of course. But since I totally resemble my mom and my granny, I am always afraid that people could leave hungry. Therefore, I added a few things for me to prepare. At least I also inherited some cooking talent from them which Jacques and my friends were very grateful for.


I boiled corn cobs for instance so that later on we only had to heat them up once more in the microwave. The night before I also boiled green beans because I knew it would save me a lot of time. On Saturday I only had take them out of the fridge and fry them with a bit of bacon, onions, two garlic cloves and some savory.


I found the recipe for pickled sweet potatoes in the latest issue of “Better Homes & Gardens” [here]. They were another thing I prepared the night before, and we really liked them. Well, maybe I should have told my friends beforehand that I had added half a jalapeno … but they survived.


Even roasting Jacques wasn’t a lot of work. I first washed him and then stuffed him with a mix of:

  • 2 apples
  • 250 ml chicken broth
  • 300 g breadcrumbs
  • 300 g bacon
  • 2 onions

Then I stitched him up before putting salt, pepper and garlic powder on him. I also rubbed olive oil in his delicate skin. Believe me when I say I touched every single part of Jacques – inside and outside. Afterwards I added some water to the tin, covered him with tinfoil and put him into the oven at 350 °F (185 °C). I first basted him after an hour and then repeated this about every thirty minutes. Also I took the tinfoil off after four and a half hours which left him another 90 minutes to get really crisp skin. So all in all this stuffed 17 pound turkey was in the oven for six hours, and he turned out perfectly.


I am very sure that Jacques also appreciated that we enjoyed him together with gravy (ready-made though) and cranberry sauce:

  • add 350 g cranberries,
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice

to a pot, cover it and heat it. After a short while the cranberries burst (really never ever forget to put on the lid!!!), and that’s it. Since I was afraid that somebody might starve, I cooked twice as much, and now have three more glasses full of cranberry sauce which I think I will eat as jam.


My friends had prepared mashed potatoes, a salad and an apple pie for dessert. We all got very full because the food was so good. And of course eating in a group of friends is great fun, too. Everybody had brought food containers to take leftovers home. My fridge and freezer are very full because of all the leftovers. Even Canavar gets his share of turkey, but we’ll have enough food for at least the whole week – which is actually really convenient. But on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day itself, I am invited to another friend’s house and we are going to have a huge dinner with 15 people.


Jacques might have had a short life, but he made six people and a cat very happy. Today, I lay his remains to rest, i.e. after I had pulled all the meat from his bones, I threw those into the garbage. Maybe that’ll make some racoon happy, too.

© janavar



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