A Thanksgiving that had a surprising Germanic finale | NevadaAppeal.com

A Thanksgiving that had a surprising Germanic finale

By Sam Bauman

Appeal Staff Writer

Yes, it’s that feast day again, and the turkey population of the United States will be decimated before the day is over.

Despite the fact that much of the lore we associated with Thanksgiving is bogus (the day was not celebrated yearly until much later, it was a totally secular day according to stern Pilgrim strictures), it’s a fine tradition.

We all have memories of Thanksgivings past, and my favorite is of a Thanksgiving we celebrated in Germany in my wife’s hometown of Darmstadt. I was working as a reporter and editor, and managed to secure a tottenhuhn through friends in the U.S. military. My wife had never seen a turkey, not to mention never cooked one.

But she got out our Esquire cookbook and tackled the bird. The recipe was one of those fancy ones that required lots of cognac, with champagne to toast it all. The cognac came from a local feinsmecker deli and the champagne from military friends who had access to fabulous buys – 65 cents a bottle for Spanish champagne.

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Thanksgiving evening, we had some friends in for dinner from the newspaper and all agreed it was a tasty (and alcoholic) bird. Much leftovers, of course.

I departed for the newspaper the next morning with happy visions of turkey sandwiches for the next couple of days.

When I got home that night to our fancy penthouse (three stories up), prepared to feast, I found the kitchen neat as only a German kitchen can be, and my wife making lentil soup and German salad. The turkey? I asked.

“All gone,” she said. “My family came over to sample tottenhuhn. They loved it.” I was crushed for a moment, but then I thought of how I had indirectly done much to improve German-American relations. And besides, I liked lentil soup.

‘THE BUTTCRACKER’

Had enough of serious ballet?

The Brüka Theatre in Reno presents “The Buttcracker,” a parody in the spirit of the ridiculous, based on the holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” ballet. This is a unique take on a classic holiday story, with a twist of humor. “The Buttcracker” plays today, Saturday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m., and Dec.17 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14 for students and seniors, $16 for general admission, $20 at the door. Call 323-3221.

STARSHIP, MICKEY

This is not your father’s Thanksgiving show. One of classic rock’s most recognizable and soaring voices, Mickey Thomas, propelled Starship to multiple memorable hits in the 1980s and ’90s. While you are digesting Thanksgiving, Starship stirs things up Saturday at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 at (800) 648-1177 or 356-3300 or by visiting janugget.com.

VIETNAM IS HOT

President George W. Bush makes nice with the Vietnamese and Reno’s Silver Legacy Resort Casino welcomes Vietnamese Simon Wong and The Tranz on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Grande Exposition Hall. Maybe just a coincidence, The Tranz are a high-end, continuous music, 9- to 10-piece show band with a unique light show. Tickets are $50 and $30 at silverlegacy.com and ticketmaster.com, and at (800) MUST-SEE.

JAZZ ON TAP

The 12th Annual North Lake Tahoe Holiday Jazz Festival at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village is Friday and Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m. Concert is 8 to 10:30 p.m.

This year’s jazz masters include Chris Botti, Jonathan Butler, Kirk Whalum and David Benoit. Call (775) 832-1234.

HELEN MIRREN WINS

Amid all the wild hype about Tom and Katie’s marriage in Italy, it would have been easy to miss what may well have been the best television program of the year – Helen Mirren starring as Jane Tennison in the “Prime Suspect – the Final Act.”

This is the seventh and final “Prime Suspect,” which first aired 15 years ago. And Mirren gives a performance that arches over almost anything she has done. She is simply totally believable as the alcoholic chief inspector stumbling on her own personal failures as she looks into the murder of 14-year-old student Sallie.

If you missed this why-dun-it – rather than who-dun-it – keep an eye out for it in the video stores.

Mirren is a hot candidate for Oscar honors for her film “The Queen.”

• Contact Sam Bauman at 881-11236 or Sbauman@nevadaappeal.com