How To Have Thanksgiving in Mongolia; Or, How a Bunch of Americans Used the Internet to Slaughter a Turkey

Warning: the following blog post contains pictures of a turkey ceasing to be alive. Just so you know.

Two important things happened this week: one, our Peace Corps friends from Khovd and the surrounding areas had off, thanks to the Mongolian school system, which meant there were a lot more Americans in Khovd than Khovd is accustomed to dealing with; and two, one volunteer discovered a local Kazakh guy who raises turkeys.

Free time + turkeys = HOLY SHIT GUYS, LET’S HAVE THANKSGIVING.

First things first, we need to procure the main course.
DSC01277
Check.

First problem: as a bunch of Americans from Suburbia, the closest any of us had ever gotten to livestock was the petting zoo, which is not exactly your one-stop shop for practical experience in animal slaughtering. So we googled the shit out of how to kill a turkey and assembled our weapons.
DSC01280
Scissors? Check. Big knife? Check. Small knife? Check. Stun gun? So checked.

Second problem: according to the internet, the recently deceased turkey should be put into a giant bucket of hot water to make plucking easier. Except my water chose right then to go off, which meant that turkey killing was delayed until such time as the water came back. And that us how I came to have a turkey bee-bopping around my shower for five hours.
DSC01278
As you can see, the turkey’s wings are duct-taped to its body; this was the guy who sold him to us, not us. And since we needed him to stay in the shower, we left it.

The water finally came back on at 9 pm, so we gathered our weapons and crowded in the door of the bathroom to watch three of the Peace Corps guys hold the turkey down, stun it, and then chop off its head.
IMG_9293
IMG_9295
IMG_9298
(The above pictures stolen from a Peace Corps volunteer).
DSC01293
After the turkey appeared fairly well-drained, we cauterized its neck with a hot frying pan….
DSC01300
DSC01301
…and then started plucking.
DSC01311
At this point, our turkey was starting to look like something out of the supermarket, if the supermarket were a shower from the depths of hell that was covered in coagulated blood, guts, and feathers.
DSC01313
DSC01314
Then it was time for one brave person to stick their hand up its ass and pull out all the organs. I was not that person.
DSC01316
And here he is all bagged up and waiting to be cooked.
DSC01320
On Thursday, we started cooking. It was an all-day affair that involved not only turkey, but also mac and cheese, garlic mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, horse meat sliders, and roasted vegetables.
DSC01321
DSC01334
DSC01322
My apartment is big, but it’s not big enough to cook Thanksgiving for nine people without half the labor taking place on the floor.
DSC01323
DSC01333
And then we ate and it was AMAZING to have that much food that wasn’t boiled goat.
DSC01336
I put myself in charge of dessert and, in homage to my Luso-American roots, I did aletria and an apple pie. Both of which turned out beautifully and were absolutely delicious.
DSC01338
Because Thanksgiving isn’t a thing in Germany–and I wasn’t friends with enough Americans to make a thing out of it–this was my first Thanksgiving in three years. I wasn’t expecting to have one this year, nor was I expecting to butcher the main course in my shower, but if there is anything I have learned from the last two months, it’s that Khovd is blowing my expectations out of the water.

So to conclude:

Dear turkey,
Sorry we chopped your head off, but thanks for the most memorable Thanksgiving of my life.
Love,
Tina
beforeafter

The End.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “How To Have Thanksgiving in Mongolia; Or, How a Bunch of Americans Used the Internet to Slaughter a Turkey

  1. That is so completely awesome!!!Maybe I can convince Kara to let me butcher a turkey in her bathroom for the thanksgiving dinner she’s organising?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s