It's that time of year when every American starts thinking about turkey, stuffing, and football – though if my Facebook feed is anything to go by, it may not be in that order. Personally, I used to hate Thanksgiving: I didn't like starchy orange vegetables, I hated football, and with my small family the holiday felt like a cheap, orange version of Christmas with less decorations and no snow. Fast forward 15 years and I'm living in London where you pay out the nose for a can of Libby's Pumpkin (£1.39 a can!) and the butcher rolls his eyes when you ask for a turkey killed a month early. But creating my own Thanksgiving traditions is pretty amazing, especially as The Irishman has gotten into the Thanksgiving cooking spirit with me, and I'm really enjoying cooking and hosting expat Thanksgiving meals and introducing the holiday to curious Brits.
Last weekend I had a close friend visiting from Chicago so we decided to hold an expat Thanksgiving while she was in town. It was our first dinner party in our new house, so it was always going to be pretty special. I went all out with decorations and cooking, particularly in the purchase of this amazing platter from a thrift store:
We went to town with the table settings, using a cored butternut squash as a vase for some autumnal flowers. The Irishman found the idea on The Kitchn, and it looked great with two little squashes as a natural centerpiece. We left the table rustic, as I love my farmhouse table and didn't want to cover it, but I ordered those brass leaf candle holders on Ebay from a seller in the US to get some authentic harvest vibe going.
I ventured out of my comfort zone to make my first pumpkin pie; it was a true collaboration as The Irishman made the shortcrust pastry and neither of us had actually ever made a pie before. So the crust isn't that great but overall it was very tasty.
Our menu was pretty standard overall, with standard American recipes from my favorite cooking links:
Brussel sprouts and pancetta
Sweet potato biscuits (full disclosure: I am embarrassed to say I enjoyed a Paula Deen recipe)
My American guests contributed acorn squash and pumpkin barley salad, which rounded out the meal and made it a really lovely potluck affair.
I'm doing another Thanksgiving meal next weekend for Brits, so I think I might change up the stuffing and the cranberry sauce. The New York Times is doing this brilliant Thanksgiving Help Line feature that's inspired me to try a few new things.
Tell me, expats: where will you celebrate Thanksgiving? What will you serve? Can you get turkeys easily? And Americans: what are your favorite recipes and traditions?