Thanksgiving across the pond: From near disaster to a happy ending

November 30, 2014

in An American in Europe,Stockholm

thanksgiving in stockholm My friend Suzanne took this photo of me and the table just before we ate.


thanksgiving Turkey and all the trimmings.


Last night, we celebrated thanksgiving here in Stockholm. It was almost a disaster.

On Friday at midnight, Robert and I headed to a local pub to drown our sorrows. Because when we pulled the almost six kilo turkey we had purchased at a local market out of its wrappings on Friday evening, it stank. Truly. It was the most evil, rotten egg, roadkill-in-the-sun smell that I’ve ever had in the kitchen.

As Robert rinsed the bird and pulled out the giblets, I frantically googled: does fresh turkey smell?

Apparently, there can be a sulfur smell that gets released as you remove the plastic that then goes away with rinsing. But for a fresh turkey, you should apparently only keep it in a home fridge for about two days because they don’t maintain a cold enough temperature.

Even as I looked up the details, I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that there was no way we could serve up this foul fowl. The smell was imprinted in my nostrils. We would worry that we were poisoning our guests. The turkey itself looked good, but the things inside it were definitely off. So I took the heart and neck out to the trash while Robert went ahead and kept rinsing and then created a brine for the turkey, hoping against hope that the smell would go away.

It didn’t. That’s when the pub came in. And when I got up at 6 the next morning because I could not sleep and wanted to see if by some very slim chance that the smell had magically disappeared, it still was there.

So we left the evil turkey on the balcony and went back to Hötorget. By this time, I was dropping the f bomb in practically every sentence I spoke and ready to cry. I was in a  panic. Large, whole turkeys are not so easy to find in Stockholm. And finding one that was fresh, not frozen, was the other problem since we had eight guests coming for dinner soon.

Let’s just say that I was not in a good place. There was not time in my prep schedule for this disaster and I was having grim thoughts of serving up only veggies and no turkey for thanksgiving.

But when we got to the hall and talked to the vendor, there was a turkey for us. Hallelujah! After we explained our situation, and what we thought went wrong, the guy took pity on us and gave us a deep discount. And when we got home and Robert prepared the new turkey for a short brine, there was no smell.


Robert was in charge of the turkey, gravy, roasting vegetables and creating a welcome cocktail. I made Ina Garten’s sausage and herb stuffing, fresh cranberry chutney, cornbread muffins, a kale, cranberry, walnut, pumpkin seed and spinach salad, spiced pecans, and a veggie tray. Judy brought a corn casserole, pecan pie, pumpkin apple pie and biscuits. Nici brought green beans with bacon and mashed potatoes, as well as some of the wine grape jelly from her own garden vines. Suzanne brought sweet potatoes. John brought wines and the new glögg for the holiday season.

Everything was fabulous. There was not one thing served that was less than absolutely delicious. After all that hard work, I forgot to even take a photo of turkey no. 2. Oh well.

As for the other turkey, it’s still on the balcony. I don’t want to go near that toxic waste. I am hoping a vulture will swoop down and take it away.


thanksgiving Waiting patiently for dinner?


thanksgiving The food coma has set in…


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Turkey leftovers and cultural imports | 59 North
December 2, 2014 at 23:10


1 Tammy November 30, 2014 at 19:33

What a turkey roller coaster! I certainly appreciate turkey, the trimmings and Thanksgining much more living abroad. Glad it turned out in the end. 🙂

2 Sandra November 30, 2014 at 20:20

Thanks Tammy. I know just what you mean in regards to the celebrating of holidays meaning more when you live far from home… Hope you are doing well and enjoyed a tasty turkey!

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