Thanksgiving in Panama

turkey clipartWe had what may be our last Thanksgiving turkey. We may have Thanksgiving chicken, fish, or even lasagna, but not turkey. We will not have Christmas turkey. When in Panama, it is easier to give up some of the US traditions and begin new ones. The first hint began with turkey shopping. Panamanians do not raise turkeys for mass distribution. I got one at PriceMart. It was a Butterball (I do not like Butterball since they are full of fat, hormones and other injectable additives) because I had few options. In Florida, turkeys are advertised for $.59 lb. An 11.8 kg Butterball turkey at PriceMart was $50. yikes!!

Talking to people here, many went to restaurants for dinner. This is not a Panamanian holiday, so they aren’t taking people from their families to work on this holiday. Because this isn’t an official state holiday, it doesn’t signal the pre-Black Friday push to buy, buy, buy for Christmas either. A few neighborhoods had pot luck dinners. What a great idea to get to know your neighbors.

I cooked the turkey and it was not the simple process it has been in years past. In our rental house, we have a modern kitchen which the landlady and/or former tenant remodeled several years ago. For some reason they chose to put in the smallest (cheapest?) oven ever seen. ovenThe racks don’t fit right, the temperature control is a mess, it’s very small, and it takes 30 minutes just to pre-heat. Notice the size of the oven compared to the 24″ cooktop. I call it my Easy Bake Oven. This is a kitchen that has the rare dishwasher and garbage disposal. Why they decided to cheap out on the oven, we will never know. After about an hour in the oven, the turkey was transferred to Olivia’s oven. She has a free-standing stove which has a regular cook top and a regular oven. In our oven, the bird would have been golden brown on the outside and raw on the inside. Instead it was delicious. Olivia and her oven saved the day.

We knew that poultry seasoning would be an issue so we brought that from the States. Sage, dill, and parsley came from our herb garden. We gathered on Olivia’s patio and had a wonderful evening. Everyone brought something so we had a real feast. turkey

This wasn’t our first holiday away from family but, thanks to modern technology, I was able to visit with my them via Skype. I didn’t have to miss our traditional round of making fun of each family member.

It was a day to acknowledge and give thanks to our good fortune, good friends, good food, and the country of Panama who has welcomed us.

black fridayWe ended up having a more traditional Thanksgiving Day than many people living in the US. We did not discuss Black Friday sales. No one left early to hit WalMart, Sears, Macy’s, Target or the other stores that chose to open on this holiday. No one ate a turkey sandwich sitting in a lawn chair outside a Best Buy. It was a great day!

living in Panama

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3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in Panama

  1. It was a woderful Thanksgiving for me. I was so full of good food and wine that I dreamed I was dancing with a handsome young man and I was twinkle toes gliding across the dancefloor!

  2. it is odd they skimped on the oven…that kitchen is beautiful. our 26# butterball @ $1.90 per lb here in panama was delicious, fit in our stand-alone stove which we bought for the back veranda since we only have a cook top stove inside kitchen. it cooked perfectly in 5 hours @ 167 degrees celcius. of course the shelving inside the oven is unreliable, so we placed a large cast iron skillet in the bottom of the stove floor & placed the turkey in a roasting pan atop that. easy peasy. we had a wonderful, traditional thanksgiving dinner. nothing wrong with tradition….especially when it is a favorite holiday.

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