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Monday, November 24, 2014

About the Feast on Thursday...

On Thursday, we are doing Thanksgiving in the UK this year. I haven't done it for a while and hadn't planned to do it this year. Instead I thought I would attend the Restoration Dinner at church on Saturday. They have what practically amounts to a traditional American Thanksgiving day menu and it would be fun, I thought.

But my son and his girlfriend announced with great excitement that she had managed to get the day off work so that she could celebrate Thanksgiving with us! It would have been churlish to say 'no', wouldn't it?  So I've been digging out favourite recipes and deciding who to invite to join us for the occasion. It is now all in hand -- the turkey is de-frosting in the kitchen and the pies are ready to be baked.

In the past, before retirement, we would celebrate on the Saturday following the actually holiday -- which is always the 4th Thursday in November. Now we are free to celebrate on the day and for me I much prefer this. Robert's girlfriend, Cat will be arriving Wednesday night so it will be nice to have company and help during the day. Thanksgiving is a holiday that it is difficult to imagine if you are not American. Many of my British friends have likened it to the way the British celebrate Christmas. But, in fact, it really is not like Christmas at all -- even if the food is similar.

First of all, Thanksgiving is all about the food and friends and family. My tradition is that of  New England -- the weather is always frosty and the sky almost always leaden. The sound in the morning is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and later American football. My mother usually served dinner at 2,00 p.m. Dress was very casual. Guests always brought a dish of some speciality of their own. Besides Turkey and stuffing, there would mashed potato, sweet potato with marshmallows (big yuck from me!), cranberry sauce (two kinds) cranberry relish, creamed onions, and various other vegetables which changed from year to year. My mother always made four pies: pumpkin, apple, apple crumb, and mince. No one ever went home hungry or without 'care' bags of makings for turkey sandwiches made with stuffing and cranberry sauce!

Meanwhile at about 7.00 pm family members could be seen around the bird's carcass going for the makings of their own sandwiches -- and which I enjoyed more than the actual dinner itself! The next day was Black Friday, which in my day was just the Friday after Thanksgiving, and preparations for Christmas would begin. Thanksgiving weekend was the worst weekend for traffic jams. From the air the jam on Wednesday evening could be seen from Washington, D.C., where I lived, to New York City. The New Jersey Turnpike was unbelievable. Sunday night trying to get back to Washington was equally abominable. The last time I was in Connecticut for Thanksgiving I flew in from the UK a week earlier and left a week after. I did not venture out for Black Friday. Most sane individuals say well clear now as it's more of a shopping nightmare...

I see that Britain is advertising Black Friday sales. Somehow, I don't think it will ever be the same -- at least I hope not -- though I wouldn't mind if they adopted the Traditional American Thanksgiving Holiday every year on the 4th Thursday in November!

22 comments:

  1. Your turkey is already defrosting for Thanksgiving? You must celebrate it earlier than the 27th.

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    1. It takes longer to defrost here -- we don't have the central heating on all day to help it along. It is now coming along quite nicely and in the fridge for a slow thaw!

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  2. How fun to have unexpected reasons to pull together a small (?--pardon if I'm being presumptuous) feast and get to knock around the kitchen with a new woman to get to know. And yes, the best part is hanging around the kitchen counter in the evening, slicing off slabs of a turkey sandwich with cranberry dressing. Or mustard, as you prefer. Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. It's kind of a 'medium' feast! But nevertheless, lots of food -- considering! Happy Thansgiving!

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  3. I enjoy the leftovers much more than the actual meal itself, so I decided this year to buy a small portion of turkey and cook it into a stew for the Thursday event. That way we'll have it for days and enjoy it all! I love cranberry sauce and turkey together. :-)

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    1. I love mixing everything together -- turkey, stuffing, cranberry and veg! Turkey stew! What an interesting idea -- sounds yummy, too!

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  4. You have described the Thanksgiving I know perfectly, right down to the 7:00 sandwiches and left overs!

    I think it is the best day of the year.

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    1. Hope you have a wonderful day, Joeh! In fact, I love the whole weekend -- as long as I don't go shopping!

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  5. Hope you have a wonderful time. Forget black Friday!

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    1. It is strange for me to see the ads here in the UK! The shopping has already been going on for at least a month!

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  6. Sounds like fun! Turkey sandwiches are best the day after Thanksgiving, and then . . . not so much, haha.

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    1. Yes, two days goes a long way. Growing up we used to have a repeat feast on Christmas and then not again until Thanksgiving the following year.

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  7. Have a lovely meal together.

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    1. Thank you, Molly, we had a lovely meal with lovely guests!

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  8. Enjoy your Thanksgiving celebration!

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  9. Happy Thanksgiving, Broad. We're the same about turkey sandwiches on Christmas Day.

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  10. The European Thanksgiving is surely Harvest Festival.

    The origin of Thanksgiving feasts lie in the mists of time, mainly celebrated to give thanks for harvests, the end of a drought, victory in battle, reaching a place of safety after a perilous journey. As such, thanks-giving is a worthy and worthwhile institution.

    As for a feast for eating and drinking and family and friends, well, that’s what Christmas is all about. That and the rows.

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  11. I had never heard of Thanksgiving before I came to the US. But I adopted this holiday with much pleasure and started my own traditional recipes – like Tipsy Sweet Potatoes that I make with a Bourbon sauce and pecans – every year. When my mother came from Paris to visit us one year in August I made a full Thanksgiving dinner for her so she would taste all the good food. Black Friday in the UK though, that seems odd.

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  12. I find it so hard to believe I didn't comment on this way back when...

    Your Thanksgiving celebration (or memories of same) is so close to mine as to be spooky. We serve at 2, have mostly the same foods (and I find sweet potatoes with marshmallow disgusting, although I do like yams by themselves), foot ball in the afternoon and Macy's in the morning (now under protest, since they open on the day itself and I find that unconscionable.)

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday in the UK and here's to a Very Happy Christmas season!

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  13. Hope all is well... Here's to a great 2015 for you!

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!