Thursday, 24 November 2011

Paleo Thanksgiving in the Netherlands for 100 Rowers

Every Tuesday and Thursday evening the student Club of Proteus provides a cook meal for anyone (potentially capacity of 200). Only 3 Euros get you a pretty good meal, with dessert. When we arrived and connected the Thursday dinner to Thursday of Thanksgiving it was all over. I was going to do Thanksgiving at Proteus! 

First thing was deciding a Thanksgiving menu, and it had to be all Paleo! Turkey/Chicken with Rosemary, Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole, Sweet Potatoes/ Beets/ Almonds/ Apples & Pumpkin Pie.
So I hunted my resources and had to remember super simple. This was potentially for 200 people! Then came the budget. Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes and Turkeys were pretty expensive in the Netherlands. Potatoes and bread are staples here. Then it was converting all the recipes from cups to milliliters and kilograms (then multiplying everything by 20!) and Fahrenheit to Celsius. Only 100 people signed up for the dinner but I was so thankful. Vivian from Proteus and I went to the Makro, which is like a Costco and bought the ingredients. As you can see from the cart it was overflowing. Couldn't imagine double that for 200. 9 pumpkins was just the start. With the strick budget, Vivian and I had to negotiate on some of the ingredients. For starters turkeys were just to expensive. Plus I calculated I would need 17 hours to get them all cooked! So whole chickens had to step up and pretend to be turkeys. Further more, there simply wasn't enough sweet potatoes or yams, so I substituted the remaining ingredients with beets and some white potatoes. The nuts for the pie crust was also crazy expensive so some pie was going to have crust and some pie was not. Oh well.
Cooking commenced on Wednesday, with making the pumpkin pie. I put Hillary to work on this. But boiling all the pumpkins, then cooling them down, scraping out the pulp was a handful. The crust too, all made from scratch, grinding the nuts down with coconut oil. In trays they baked while we cut up things for tomorrow's work. Pretty beat with just a few helpers, including John, we turned off the kitchen lights. On Thursday, I woke up in panic that ants had gotten into the pot cranberry sauce. I saw them in my nightmare walking away with the delicious sauce on their backs. So before training I rushed into the kitchen, to see everything waiting quietly. After training I just couldn't wait to get back and start preparing the chickens and broccoli, stuffing and sweet potatoes! I was in a little panic I wasn't going to make the 7:30 dinner start time. Luckily at 2pm the regular cooking staff rolled in, and they knew, just what to do. At 3 when my next training started, I handed over the recipes and had to just walk away and let go. To my delight, I arrived on the dock and Joost asked me to confirm the chicken's cooking temperature but otherwise everything else was done. I even had time to go home and get ready for the serving.

So yes we made it and almost an hour early. Happy thanksgiving I said as we served the people. And no one even noticed the absence of any gluten. No corn, bread, nothing like that. All from scratch with ingredients that looked like the real thing it was in nature!

A link from the proteus's website to tell members about the dinner. Google translate works well!

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