I have lived in several former Soviet Union countries for over 10 years. I have spent numerous years celebrating Thanksgiving here without turkey. My first year in Kyiv in 2003, I bought a frozen turkey at Metro (a large Sam’s type store from Germany).
I thawed it and baked it in the oven like usual. The meat was so tough and unchewable that I wound up throwing the rest of it in the oven. I was very discouraged. I figured that I would have to give up eating turkey all together.
In Kazakhstan, I saw turkeys in the villages and thought, surely I could get one from a village. However, that never happened. Again, in Tbilisi, I found a frozen turkey at our local supermarket (again, a German brand). It turned out to be ok.
I enjoy eating turkey from time to time, not just at Thanksgiving. So, I am always on the lookout for turkey.
There is a Metro in Donetsk, but I am not sure I would ever buy one of their frozen turkeys again. Recently, I was asked by a group here to help them celebrate their Harvest Day with some traditional American Thanksgiving food. They told me that they would order a fresh turkey from the market. I was intrigued, so I asked them to order one for me personally.
Imagine my surprise when I got home and opened the bag to find this turkey. It was beautiful in all the ways I love to see a turkey before it is cooked! It was fresh, not frozen. It didn’t have any feathers (I kind of expected some…). I was pleasantly surprised.
Then I did the math and figured out the turkey cost $2.13 a pound. Not bad at all. I don’t remember the exact cost for that first frozen disaster in Kyiv in 2003, but I do remember it being extremely expensive.
Also, the first order that the church placed at the market was three times more expensive, but someone knew of a small meat market shop where they purchased these turkeys. I got their business card and expect to buy more turkeys in the future. Their meat looked really nice as well, so I may be purchasing other things from them as well.
How did the turkey turn out? I came home and immediately baked my turkey… here is the finished product. I had a small bite and it was pretty juicy. I plan to de-bone it today and have a turkey sandwich for lunch!