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Thanksgiving in Rome is tricky. On one hand, there’s no acknowledgement of the holiday whatsoever, which really makes you want to celebrate it in some way, but, on the other hand, it’s a lot of work to pull together a meal resembling an American Thanksgiving dinner. To try or not to try? That was the question.

In the end, we compromised. We threw together an American Thanskgiving lunch, and went out for a fancier than usual Italian dinner.

From the picture above, you may be wondering if we actually were able to procure a turkey in Rome. The answer is no. Our Italian oven has a height of, at most, 8 inches. After several animated conversations where we mostly spoke English and the butcher mostly spoke Italian, we learned that it would be impossible to find a turkey small enough to fit in our oven.

So, we picked out a nice looking chicken, and said yes when the butcher asked if we wanted him to clean it out for us. This meant chopping off the head and feet in front of us, and offering us the eggs which were still inside the chicken. Things got a bit too real for me in that moment.

We picked up some bread, sausage and veggies for the stuffing at the Testacchio Market, and were on our way.

I have to say, the stuffing was my favorite part of the meal. No surprise there, since this is true for me in America as well, but it was super moist and flavorful.

We made our own breadcrumbs, which was a first for me, and cooked them with browned sausage and sauteed onions, carrots and celery.

We were unable to find brussels sprouts at the farmers’ market, so settled for cauliflower. Sauteed with olive oil, garlic and white wine, this dish turned out to be another (accidental) favorite.

As for the ambiance, importantly, we’d been given a turkey centerpiece by a friend’s mom, which took center stage on our small table.

The Italian sports channel kindly played an American football game (the previous Sunday’s Pats-Chiefs game).

Complete with naps on the couch and too frequent checks to see if the turkey (aka chicken) was done, it almost felt like home.

Because of the size of our oven (see above), we abandoned any attemps to create a pie and settled for a dessert of macaroons I’d picked up in Paris earlier in the week.

All in all, I have to say: I think the lunch was a success.

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