So this year we had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving in the beautiful city of Prague. I was feeling a little nostalgic and wanted to make sure we gave our kids a Thanksgiving to remember. I’m fairly certain they’ll remember this one.

On Monday, before Thanksgiving, Reagan and I made a menu and shopping list of things we needed to find at the store. We found a wonderful turkey recipe, along with an apple pie and pumpkin pie recipe. I already know how to make mashed potatoes by heart and jello salad is pretty self explanatory so we didn’t search up those recipes.

On Tuesday we went to a store and could not find a turkey. We found chicken and duck, but not one turkey. So, because the duck looked bigger, we decided that maybe this year we would substitute the turkey for a duck. As we were checking out, the lady at the cash register grabs the duck and says something to us in Czech–to which we smile and say we do not speak Czech. She gives us a big smile, slaps the duck and says, “YUM YUM!” Now, I’ve never seen anyone slap a duck before, and given the slap and the “YUM YUM” I will assume she said something along the lines of, “Now THAT is one fine duck!”

The next day we went to a different store in search of the last of the ingredients on our grocery list. We found everything but the brown sugar. Thanks to Google Translate, we were able to find the right flour and spices we needed for our feast as well.

Thanksgiving Eve I had the girls make the pie dough while I made the jello salad. Now, the place we are staying in has no measuring cups or spoons and I can wing most measurements, but jello is a whole other ball game. Jello is super fickle when it comes to exact measurements, so I wasn’t sure how this particular jello salad was going to work out for us. But, I made it anyways, stuck it in the fridge for the next day.

Thanksgiving morning we all get up and I go to check on the jello salad. It was not runny, but it also wasn’t wiggly–it was just kind of blubbery. So, as a last resort, I threw it in the freezer thinking that if it didn’t work, it wasn’t that big of a loss to our Thanksgiving feast. It didn’t work.

That morning I put the pie in the oven–now this oven is a microwave/oven. It would preheat and then be on for about 5-10 minutes then it would shut off. This meant that I was going to have to be in the kitchen all day babysitting this dang oven to make sure everything cooked like it needed to. So, the pie came out nicely and then I started on the stuffing–and seriously, I found an amazing recipe! Bread crumbs, fried up onions and celery, 1 cup of chicken stock, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning—bake for an hour and it’s done! It was incredibly easy and so good!

While I was busy doing all this my husband seasoned the duck, put it in the fridge, and then went off to go on a run. When it was time, I go to pull out the duck and I see something that doesn’t look right. There are feathers under the wings and in the neck. By feathers…I mean actual feathers coming out of this bird. By this time, my husband had gotten back from his run and I ask him if he had cleaned the duck before seasoning it. He asked what I meant and I said that I know that before you season a turkey in the States, I’ve always rinsed it really well, feeling for left-over wing particles and removing them as necessary. To this, he said that no, he had just seasoned and stuffed the duck. So, I’m looking at this bird and I show him the feathers–to which he says that maybe we should just wash the seasoning off, un-stuff the bird and then proceed to take the left-over feathers out it. I agree and it ends up taking me quite some time to really prepare that duck.

We didn’t end up eating until close to 6pm, but it was a fine American Czech feast. One to remember, that’s for sure!


Author: Jennie.Denney

Jennie lives in Southern California with her husband and four children. She loves to travel, write poetry, and be by the water. She received a certificate of the Bible through Torchbearers Bible School, attended Hope International University for her undergrad, received a certificate in Spiritual Formation through the Apprentice Experience at Friends University, and a Masters degree in Pastoral Studies. She has written Soul Cries: A Book of Poems, Soul Cries: A Journal, and her newest book is Shaping the Soul: An Artist Collective. She owns and manages, where she writes a weekly blog with stories, practices, and lessons she is learning, to help her readers know they are not alone in their own becoming and encouraging them to connect with God. Follow her on IG @jennie.denney and Pinterest @jenniferpdenney.

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