November 25, 2012 by americansaladco
Thanksgiving has always been a difficult holiday to celebrate in Florence, not only for the lack of traditional ingredients, but also because most of us are living so far away from our families. In the past, American Salad Co. has tried to organize a single event, bringing all the ex-pats (and curious Italians) together around one table. It had always been a successful evening until the holiday got popular with local restaurants and numerous offers started popping up around town that could offer a meal for much less than we could since they already had staff, a location, tables and chairs, plates and silverware – all things that we needed to rent. We knew they were lacking traditional menus and some even the quality that we wished to provide. So this year we decided to eliminate all the extra costs and just provide a traditional pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal to take home and to heat up.
We teamed up with a local American bakery here in Florence, Mama’s, who provided us with their delicious apple and pumpkin pies. We then got busy with the turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted yams, gravy, peas, apple sauce and cranberry sauce to complete Florence’s first Thanksgiving Kit take-away.
The response we received was overwhelming! Our cut-off day for ordering was on Monday the 19th and we had over 150 orders! By the time we accommodated the late-comers, we were up to 160! That’s 10 turkeys, 30 kg. of potatoes, 25 kg. of yams and 10 lt. of gravy! We spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday peeling, chopping, mashing, baking and roasting. We were giddy with excitement Wednesday evening knowing that we would be delivering all this good food to people the following day. We now know what Santa Claus feels like! We set out on Thursday morning making the deliveries and didn’t finish until 8:30 pm when we finally delivered our own turkey and sat down to enjoy it.
Most of our customers were delighted with their kits. A lot of people forgot just how good REAL mashed potatoes can be. Others complimented us on the traditional spread. A few were grateful for all the time we saved them. Some even went as far as to say it was the best turkey they had ever had.
Not everything went as smooth as our mashed potatoes though. We did mix up an order to some lovely American students who had organized a dinner with friends in the center, but luckily they called us immediately and we ran them over another few tubs of the things they were lacking. Another client felt that their order should have been more abundant and called us to get some extra mashed potatoes and stuffing. We apologized and sent some more over as soon as possible only to find that they intended the whole meal and had already started cooking more things themselves. Unfortunately these things can happen and we will take better measures next year to assure that the orders are complete as well as consider doing larger portions. We again apologize profusely with this party and hope they will accept our token of €20 credit towards anything off our menu and a free breakfast on us at Mama’s. Of all days to mess up an order, Thanksgiving wasn’t one of them!
On the whole, this experience was very positive and is something we will definitely do again. We are very pleased to see that Thanksgiving is becoming a Florentine event and that both Americans and Italians are interested in trying a traditional meal. And we are even more pleased with the reaction to our food. The take-away kits are a good way to enjoy the tradition at home where it should be and without all the fuss of preparation. Remember, here in Italy, we still have to go to work or to school on Friday!