This is the first part, in my 3 part Thanksgiving day series. Although tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the holiday has actually begun here in C-burg. I have the next two days off, and tomorrow I am hosting a dinner party for 5 people. It is the one time of the year that I go all out and cook. I figure that doing it really well once a year saves me from a year full of disgraces and Maggie Mix.
On tomorrow's menu:
Cocktail Hour: stuffed mushrooms, cheese and crackers, apple orchard punch
Dinner: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, candied yams, green bean casserole, fresh salad (with a nice pinot noir to drink)
Dessert: pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee
Behold the before picture:
I am not a very creative cook, but there are few things I am good at. I am really good at pie crust. My secret is VERY cold water. Also, the amount of water is always different. You have to play with the dough a bit. If need be, use a little extra flour.
Is it strange that I like to walk around the house in my apron when I am cooking?
Many Germans have heard about Thanksgiving, but they are not sure what it is. I heard a radio announcer say that the U.S. and Canada will be celebrating tomorrow. That is not true. Canadians do have a Thanksgiving, but it is on the second Monday in October. U.S. Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday in November. And although Germans have "Erntedankfest," it is not quite the same as American Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. It is all about the food. There are no gifts and no special activities. It is simply a time for the entire family to sit around the table and eat and talk. My family did not do this much, so I guess that is why I enjoyed it so much. The day after Thanksgiving also kicked off the Christmas season and some very nice shopping. Unfortunately I don't get that here. Aldi started sell chocolate Sanats in October.
My VA friend is married to a bail bondsman. They love Thanksgiving, too, but for very different reasons. Seems that people do stupid things when you put them in a warm room with family and alcohol. Go figure.
Thanksgiving is also when Americans celebrate one of their founding myths: the Pilgrims journey to the new world and surviving a difficult year. I say myth, because the Pilgrims did not celebrate in Thanksgiving in November and the most certainly did not eat pumpkin pie (but rather swan and seal). Thanksgiving also emerged as an important story in the 1890s, as the number of immigrants increased. There was a search for identity amongst the melting pot, and these stories were spread to make people feel "more American." Searching for identity . . . I can relate to that.
My mother sends my Turkey Care Package every year so that my dinner will be as authentic as possible. However, my turkey is French. We are calling him Henri this year.
Unfortunately there are a few things that I simply miss. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I would put it on early in the morning, and eventually my father would come into the room. "What is this crap!?" He would grumble through the whole thing, but usually let me watch. In college I discovered football and Thanksgiving took on even new meaning.
I am building my own new Euro-American Thanksgiving memories here in C-burg. Although the German does not like the candied yams, he is all about some turkey. Today I was also very touched by his thoughtfulness. After teaching all day, I was dreading going home to my dirty apartment. Cleaning the toilet and baking pie is not my idea of a good time when I am so tired. However, when I stepped through the apartment door, I saw the vacuum in the hallway. I smelled the disinfectant from the door. He cleaned! Even the toilet! Yet one more thing to be thankful for.