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Hockey Abroad: The Austrian Thanksgiving fiasco

As if Thanksgiving isn’t already busy enough, try cooking Thanksgiving in another country- with no turkey!

Hannah McGowan and her fellow American imports get together to celebrate American Thanksgiving in Austria.
Hannah McGowan

Hannah McGowan, formerly of the Buffalo Beauts, packed her bags and moved to Austria to play women’s hockey abroad. She’ll be writing a player blog for The Ice Garden about her adventures in a new country and giving a first-person account on what it’s like to play in Europe. Stay tuned for more of Hannah’s stories!

Below is her third blog about trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her teammates...and how things didn't quite go according to plan.

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It has become a tradition here for the American/ Canadian imports to make a traditional thanksgiving dinner for the team each year, so of course we were all on board. But as everyone knows based on my previous posts, nothing ever really goes as smoothly as you'd think here. Let me lay out the whole thanksgiving in Austria experience for you.

Obviously we knew well ahead of time that we were supposed to be hosting Thanksgiving. But of course it slipped our minds until a few days before. In the past, the imports would order a turkey ahead, since they aren't as common in markets here; we also knew we should do this... but we forgot.

To our surprise our Canadian import, Jennie Gallo, who lives in the town next to us said she had spotted some turkeys at the market near her place, so we put her on turkey duty.

Trusting that there would still be a turkey available, my roommates and I left for Vienna the day before our thanksgiving cookout and Jennie planned to get the turkey that day.

I'm sure you can guess what's next: they had no turkey. She ended up picking up a goose and a chicken for us to cook as the main dishes. Oh, I should also add that Jennie thawed them out in her bath tub since her sink was too small.

Now the moment of truth. The day we cook for 10 people. I got home with a teammate around 1 p.m. to the goose and chicken raw on the counter and no roommates to be found.

Panic mode, I started to Google how to cook a goose, while also talking on the phone with my mom trying to figure out where to start. I am freaked out by raw meat so my teammate had to take the lead and start prepping the birds. As she is taking out all the guts, she's on speaker phone with her mom getting instructions on how to make the stuffing and translating to me what I should be doing to help. Did I mention that we were supposed to be cooking for them??

I have never seen so much chaos in a kitchen with only two people in my life. I mean she is just sprinting around from one task to the other while my only job is putting pepper on the goose and adding milk to the stuffing while she mixed it. She then had to leave around 3 so I was instructed before she left about each time I should check the goose and flip it and change the oven temperatures as it cooked. I set about 6 alarms so I didn't forget a step. She left, and my roommates finally got home.

Since the food was in the oven everyone was finally settled down and we made the side dishes with ease.

Our teammates started to arrive and, not to our surprise, they took charge in preparing things including the salad and setting the table because we always forget to do these little things.

It all ended up turning out great!

Hannah McGowan

We also were able to celebrate Jennie's birthday! It was a great night full of good company, dancing on our kitchen made dance floor, and burning toes by the bonfire.

There is a lot to be thankful for this year! I hope everyone's American Thanksgiving was as eventful as our Austrian Thanksgiving!

Hannah McGowan