Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

First – Take a Deep Breath (Thanksgiving 2)

You inspired me! I didn’t expect such a response to the post on Thanksgiving. Once again, I am baffled, and delighted, at what strikes your fancy.

So – how to do Thanksgiving. To do it properly, you have to focus on the right things. So first, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and allow yourself to feel thankful. Even in the worst of years, there are blessings. Bring them to mind. Feel them. Rejoice! Now you are prepared.

It’s all about the gathering. Yes, we have traditional foods, but in different parts of the country, traditions vary. Turkey is traditional, for example, but it can get so boring. In the South, you can buy a turkey that has been smoked (lovely!) or a turkey that has been stuffed with a duck that has been stuffed with a chicken. When we lived in Germany, I inserted tiny slivers of garlic under the skin – like hundreds of slivers – and served the slices with a variety of French mustards (WOW!). We’ll talk turkey in the next post.

Some Thanksgiving favorites:
Stuffing (also called Dressing)
Cranberry sauce
Mashed Potatoes + Gravy
Sweet Potatoes (usually served “candied” i.e. with a sweet sauce, covered with tiny marshmallows)
Green Salad + dressing
black pitted olives (kids put them on their fingers)
green beans
(South: creamed onions, cornbread stuffing, macaroni and cheese, jambalaya, peanut soup)
(Pacific Northwest: shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, smoked oysters)
Desserts: Pumpkin Pie, Mincemeat Pie, Fruitcake, etc. etc . . . )

The Thanksgiving Table is an excuse to get out all the good stuff you don’t use every day – beautiful white linens for the cloth and napkins, your silver, your crystal, the best china . . . polish up the silver candlesticks, put fresh candles in the crystal ones . . . but this is not the HEART of Thanksgiving, only the icing. We have had fabulous Thanksgivings with plates on our laps, as we gathered together with friends in countries where Thanksgiving is totally unknown. It’s the gathering that is important, not the food, not the table.

November 20, 2006 - Posted by | Cooking, Cross Cultural

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