Technically, this is the first Thanksgiving dinner I’ve cooked on my own! KD is always eager to let me try out new recipes on him, and I daresay that I exceeded his Thanksgiving expectations.
We started with a simple beer bread, had faux green bean casserole (which could have used double the sauce) mashed potatoes and frozen turkey cutlets, for the sake of tradition. All smothered in a pack of McCormick Brown Gravy (not the best thing I’ve ever made but… authentic, at the very least.)
In my humble opinion, the piece de resistance was the Raspberry Cobbler, thrown together at the last minute in lieu of a more labor-intensive Raspberry Pie with the help of this recipe and a box of frozen berries (and, full disclosure, a few scoops of vanilla ice cream).
We listened to Adam and Arlo, Skyped my family and watched Big Daddy. Definitely not the worst Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.
Whenever possible, I like to let Kelly document/blog about my expat life. Mostly because she has a better camera, and also she’s just about as witty/eloquent as I am so you would barely notice the difference anyway (possibly even wittier).
She was kind enough to invite me to her Frankfurt Thanksgiving celebration this year, for which I was thankful (hah) as I do not know any Americans in Cologne yet that I would enjoy spending a national holiday with. We felt particularly Pilgrim-ish (well, I did anyway) in that we cooked a lot more things (well, Kelly did, I was in more of a supervisory/taste-tester role) from scratch than most Thanksgivings generally require.
While we may not have had to hike up a mountain or eat mystery foods as a result of a German translation of Thanksgiving (as we did on our first Thanksgiving together many moons ago) we did discover Corn Snack, purchase a kilo of purple heirloom beans, and discover that Cream of Mushroom soup can easily be made without the aid of Campbells.
Here are the pictures I came away from the weekend with.
Corn Snack (not its actual name)
turns out you can roast a pumpkin to make pumpkin puree... another food that doesn't have to come from a can!
For the third time in six years, I found myself in Germany on Thanksgiving. Additionally, I spent all day sitting at a desk, not lounging around the house in my PJs until my mom made me ‘put real clothes on’ (overrated). While my Facebook feed was blowing up with updates about turkey and cranberry sauce, I was scanning through CVs (and watching the Macy’s parade via live stream…)
By the end of the day (6:30pm) I was ready to crawl into bed and sleep my Thanksgiving-less woes away. If not for my broken shower curtain, I would not have stopped at Kaufland and come out with:
- Turkey breast
- Green beans (with bacon!)
- Mashed potatoes (instant)
- Chocolate chip cookies
- a 2€ bottle of bordeaux
Despite my greatest attempts to pretend that it was not an American holiday, and wait until my Thanksgiving dinner with Kelly and friends on Sunday, I caved and had one by myself. With leftovers for today.
And then I Skyped my family after thoroughly enjoying that bottle of French wine. C’est la vie.
Turkey got a little burnt but it was still pretty good.
Shocking to more Americans than I would think to be acceptable, Germany does not celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday. However, in a program with about half of the students coming from America, and a large chunk of the rest having spent some considerable time in the land of plenty, it was inevitable that we would come up with a way to overcome this.
I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday shopping, planning, cooking, baking, and drinking to prepare for our feast last night. Friday night a few of us gathered at the school to decorate, which ended in the construction of a teepee made out of printer paper, staples, and some branches found in the woods out back, as well as some construction paper and feather Indian headdresses.
Slaving over the stove
Saturday morning the cooking (and mimosas) commenced around 10am, with the women cooking and prepping and the men playing cards in the next room. Thankfully we were eventually able to convince them to help in peeling potatoes (and even wrangled a German friend into helping… however he didn’t get it when I told him to ‘stop complaining about peeling potatoes, that’s what it was like to be a Pilgrim!’). Having to cook multiple dishes to account for vegetarians, vegans, muslims and lactose intolerant guests was an interesting twist, but we heard no real complaints throughout the night so I think we were successful.
Tons of food
Eventually we lugged our 3 turkeys, along with trays and trays of sides (many of which I had never had before… brussel sprouts? creamed spinach?) down to the school. Many of our classmates (and staff) were concerned that the makeshift Native American dwelling was actually going to be lit aflame (thank God it didn’t come to that) and the evening ended with a campfire-style singalong of everyone’s favorite American songs (of course including such hits as Country Roads, Take Me Home, and Summer of 69)
Before the teepee collapsed
God Bless America.