in the kitchen: celebrating Thanksgiving

After last year’s successful volunteer Thanksgiving here in Moldova, we opted to host our volunteer friends for a crazy weekend of turkey-centered fun.  This past weekend, 18 of us gathered together in our town of Targu Neamt to celebrate an American Thanksgiving in Romania.  When you’re feeding an army, there are always stressful moments — not enough ovens, not enough time, is the turkey really done?  But with support in the kitchens from David, Alex, Gretel, and Jenny, we pulled it off.  It was great fun — an abundance of homestyle food, friends — some new, some old, silly stories, juicy gossip, random facts, youtube videos, walks.

Rather than elaborating on each story (honestly, some probably shouldn’t be re-hashed), here are some pictures to share our feast with y’all.

Jenny cleaning the turkey’s cavity.

Alex successfully cut off the neck!

Papi, our Thanksgiving Turkey

W?tW?t (WhatWhat), our Thanksgiving Chicken

Tasty sidedishes

Brent & Alex with Turkey legs

Sorry for the lack of dessert pictures. I think by then, we were all busy eating or doing the food-coma thing!

A final word. We couldn’t have had our Thanksgiving without our fellow volunteers, many of whom traveled a long way to get here, or without the kindness of Romanians in our lives — the Botez family who gave us the beautiful chicken and several bottles of homemade wine, Mihai, who not only shared the meal with us but brought us his signature palinka and taught us new vocabulary, and my counterpart, Elena, who allowed us to use our center as a meeting place and shared berry tuica with us. I am ever-so grateful for all of you!

Our Thanksgiving Day menu


  • deviled eggs
  • bacon-wrapped smokies
  • salata de boeuf (traditional romanian cuisine thanks to Feli!)
  • cabbage salad with nuts, pomegranates, and apples (Gretel’s recipe)
  • pasta salad (Alex’s recipe)
  • tasty cheese dip/ball (Alex’s recipe)
  • veggies with french onion dip (thanks to Alex’s parents)
  • pumpkin hummus (Amanda’s recipe)
  • prepelite afumate (little smoked birds; FREE from my turkey guy)


  • 8.5 kg turkey, stuffed (my grandfather’s recipe)
  • turkey gravy (from scratch — feet, organs — made by Jenny Ball)
  • fried turkey gizzards (Jenny Ball’s recipe)
  • 4 kg beer-can chicken (Jenny Ball’s recipe)
  • cornbread dressing (David’s mom’s recipe)
  • cheesy potato casserole (my grandmother’s recipe)
  • macaroni & cheese souffle (flora fox’s recipe)
  • green bean casserole (every bit from scratch)
  • glazed carrots (my Uncle Steve’s recipe)
  • cranberry relish (Gretel’s family’s recipe)
  • cranberry sauce (Gretel’s family’s recipe)


  • pumpkin pie (my great grandmother’s recipe; made entirely from scratch)
  • apple pie (by Jenn Brooks & Gretel)
  • assorted cakes, cupcakes and yummy frostings (by Ashley)
  • whip cream

David & Veronica’s pictures

Alex’s pictures





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