Thanksgiving has always been one of my favourite holidays, and I have happy memories of lovely meals shared with various combinations and permutations of family and friends over the years. I love, above all, the feeling of being in sync with other Americans, all cooking similar foods and gathering together to eat their holiday meal. Nowadays, though, Thanksgiving confuses me a bit. Not only do I live in a country that doesn’t celebrate that particular American holiday (though they seem determined to adopt the not-so-nice Black Friday frenzy), but it’s also hard to source some of the foods that fit with my traditions, and it’s equally hard to fit a turkey into my tiny kitchen.
Nevertheless, it feels important that I make the effort.Over the years I have created my own carefully curated notebook of recipes and timings, much like the one my mother used, that I still treasure even though I don’t use her exact recipes anymore. The ingredients here just aren’t quite the same, and that, along with my need to stay gluten-free, has lead me to explore and invent my own variations.
When I was growing up, my mother’s family often celebrated Thanksgiving a day ahead of time to accommodate my uncle’s work schedule, and now I use that flexibility to push our feast back to Saturday to make things easier for everyone’s schedules. There were six of us gathered around the table last night. Our evening was planned in complete collaboration with the other American in the village, and our families shared the cooking, from our foie gras appetizer to Jeff’s creative vegetable platter to our roast turkey crown with all the usual side dishes to the most wonderful pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. Traditional with a few unorthodox twists. Above all, we were grateful for all that we have and for our presence in each other’s lives.
How have your favourite traditions evolved over the years?