Turkey feast for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is this coming Nov. 25, the last Thursday of the month. And while this celebration is an American event, we Filipinos can’t resist joining the party too!
The American tradition goes back to the 1600s as a post-harvest thanksgiving festival. Then in 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, designating Nov. 26, a Thursday, a “Day of National Thanksgiving.” In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to officially fall on the last Thursday of November.
As an American colony, the Philippines celebrated Thanksgiving as a special public holiday on the same day as the United States. In 1935, under the Philippine Commonwealth government, President Manuel Quezon through Proclamation No. 9 designated Nov. 28, 1935, a Thursday, as a “Day of National Thanksgiving.” In 1973, President Ferdinand Marcos moved this holiday to Sept. 21 through Proclamation No. 1181 (Proclamation No. 108,1 which placed the Philippines under Martial Law was dated Sept. 21, 1972) but this ceased to be observed after Filipinos were freed from Martial Law through the People Power Revolution of 1986.
Thanksgiving is no longer an official holiday in the Philippines but some families continue to practice the tradition, complete with turkey and all, even if turkey is quite foreign to us. The traditional fare for Thanksgiving includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. This is said to have originated from a comment of Alexander Hamilton, American statesman/founding father, who is believed to have said, after Washington’s Thanksgiving holiday declaration: “No person should abstain from having turkey on Thanksgiving Day.”
If you are inclined to oblige to this encouragement of indulgence, albeit for turkey, then here are some restaurants and/or chefs who offer turkey for Thanksgiving in Metro Manila:
The Plaza has been offering this specialty for 56 years now. Their whole roast turkey (6 kilos, serves 10 to 15 pax, P10,500) comes with an apple, prune and chestnut stuffing, and the usual cranberry and gravy. Order at theplazacatering.com.
Chef Dino Datu also personally makes roast turkey. His turkey feast (P7,500) includes whole brined and roasted turkey (5 to 6 kilos, good for 8 to 12 pax) and comes with a sausage and sage potato stuffing, plus brown butter French beans, cinnamon candied carrots, giblet gravy and cranberry jelly. As a bonus, he also includes the Santa Cruz bibingka cheesecake lovingly made by his wife, Chef Gel Salonga-Datu. Order at 09173116965 three days in advance.
Restaurant 101 of Enderun Colleges offers whole turkey (4.3 to 5 kilos, good for 8 to 12 pax) at P8,280. This comes with chestnut chorizo stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, candied yams, bacon and clam chowder, mashed potatoes and vegetables. They also have pumpkin pie (P880) for a complete Thanksgiving meal! Order at 09178743751.
Bizu is an old reliable source of whole roast turkey (about 5.5 kilos, serves 6 to 10 pax, P10,500) that comes with cranberry-pear chutney, haricot with orange zest, maple-glazed roasted root vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes, peppercorn gravy and mushroom rice pilaf. (Order at bizu.ph). Old Swiss Inn also offers whole turkey (P7,800) among other Thanksgiving offerings (check out menu at oldswissinn. com then order via their Facebook page Old Swiss Inn Restaurant) as does Chef Jessie Sincioco who offers whole roast turkey by the kilo (P2,750/kilo) or you can also opt to order an entire Thanksgiving menu. (Contact Chef Jessie at 0917-8330797 or landline 8-2534732 for inquiries and orders.) Nawwty’s Kitchen also offers turkey but prices are only available upon request (inquire at Viber 09984076864).
Not a whole turkey
Now, while some are already starting to go out as if the pandemic was over, there are still many who choose to party on the side of caution and Zoom it instead. Here are some options if a big gathering is out of the question:
-The Plaza’s turkey pastrami: This has been a specialty of theirs since the 1960s but is now revived thanks to the need for smaller portions. Order at theplazacatering.com.
-Old Swiss Inn’s half turkey: No worries if you can only consume half a turkey because they are the “turkey match makers;” and therefore offer half turkey (P4,000) because they can help you find your “turkey match.” (Order via Old Swiss Inn Restaurant on Facebook messenger.)
-Pria’s Kitchen, a gourmet favorite for turkey, has come up with smaller platters. She says it’s “all the same goodness as our original platter in the form of a turkey roulade platter”. This also comes with all the fixings: filleted turkey roulade, Italian sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, cranberry jelly, and mushroom gravy. Call 0917-8190545 to order.
-Restaurant 101 of Enderun Colleges also offers roulade of turkey. You have an option for 3-kg, good for six to nine people (P4,280) or 1.5 kg, good for two to three (P2,280). Call 09178743751 to order.
-You may also order turkey a la carte at Chef Jessie at P1,200 per order. Call 0917-8330797 or landline 8-2534732 to order.
Now with all that turkey and the delicious stuffing and fixings, remember that we have much to be grateful for, in spite of the challenges ofthe pandemic. Don’t forget the essence of the celebration and give thanks! And keep that prayer in your heart to have an attitude of gratitude every day!
Happy Thanksgiving in advance to you and all your loved ones!
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