Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for 14 in a Parisian Kitchen

It can be done. I hope. 

Tomorrow, I will be putting my tiny little oven (and cooking skills) to the test. I originally planned to have a 6-8 person Thanksgiving dinner in our little Parisian apartment. The head count is now at a staggering 14 with a possible 2 more. You can do it Katrina. Just breathe. 

Cooling the Kitchen

Luckily, without the stresses of a full time job, I have been working on my Thanksgiving dinner game plan for the past week or so. Not only am I trying to have an American Thanksgiving in Paris, but I'm trying to work with what France has to offer. Sure, I could just get everything at the American grocery store, actually called Thanksgiving... but I want a challenge. I will admit I cheated a teeeny tiny bit (I bought a bag of fresh cranberries and cornmeal from Thanksgiving, but other than that, everything is via the local grocery stores and markets.

The key to pulling off a successful dinner party of any quantity is to plan your meals smartly. Don't cook all your dishes in the oven. Don't cook everything the day of the dinner. Don't do all of the cooking yourself! These are the three rules I'm sticking to like peanut brittle in your teeth (white on rice was just too obvious... hehe).

Originally, I was planning on baking a small mountain of turkey cutlets (escalopes de dinde) since the whole turkeys at Thanksgiving were going for 13 euros a kilo (with a 3 kilo minimum), and escalopes are fairly cheap. No way I was going to pay 13 euros a kilo to feed 14 people (I love you guys, but I'm not made of money). Amazingly as I was making my 2nd wave of food shopping (I went to certain grocery stores for certain items) I passed the meat counter to find whole turkeys! At only 4.30 euros a kilo! They weren't nearly as large as the American turkeys (which kind of creep me out anyways... I mean, who really wants to cook a 30lb turkey?!!) weighing in at only 5.5lbs each... I bought 2, praying to the turkey gods that they would both fit in my oven at the same time. 

The gods were on my side this year... :)

So here's my Thanksgiving Prep Breakdown:


-Make the huckleberry cinnamon cranberry sauce - DONE


Frenching the Beans

-French cut the green beans - DONE
-Blanch the green beans - DONE

Apple Pie Dough Ingredients

-Make the pie dough - DONE
-Refrigerate pie dough - DONE
-Roll out pie dough and form to pan

Prepped Turkeys 

-Prep the turkeys - DONE


-Prep/bake sour cream apple pie
-Roast turkeys
-Finish prepping/bake green bean casserole
-Prep/bake mini corn muffins

Quentin is in charge of the mashed potatoes. Alice is making the appetizers and Jules is bringing a second dessert.

Since the turkeys are pretty small (2.5 kilos each)... ok really small...  I'm going to attempt to cook them both at the same time (cross your fingers for me!!) This is not the first time I've made the turkey at Thanksgiving... but it is the first time I'll be cooking two at the same time. It's going to be interesting. I'll be watching them like a hawk with my meat thermometer in hand. 

While the turkeys are resting it will give me enough time to pop in the green bean casseroles and the mini corn muffins. Then I will pop in the apple pie. I have most of my list checked off for today, with the only last thing to do being to roll out the apple pie dough and forming it to the pan. Whew.

Wish me luck guys!


  1. I wish you lots of luck and do wish I could join!

  2. BONNE CHANCE!!! We had to make Thanksgiving many a year in our tiny Belgian kitchen :) I'm totally with you on the cranberry thing-- gotta do what it takes to have fresh cranberry sauce! I think your game sounds great-- I have one that I follow, too, although I'm not hosting this year. Have a lovely Thanksgiving! And I'd love for you to e-mail me and let me know how you got into freelance food writing-- I'd love to do the same and am looking for a place to start! MERCI!!

  3. Quite informative post on your thanksgiving dinner party. Couple of months ago, I arranged a brunch party with my family at one of grand venues in Chicago. Invited all my family members to this party and we had amazing time.