Along for the ride:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving for Foreigners and Other Misfits.

If you are far from family or from a culture that does not celebrate Thanksgiving, you will be a good fit at my table on Thursday. California is a wonderful place to collect multi-national flotsam and jetsam when holidays come around. The mixture makes for some lively gatherings. I had thought to keep the group small; just immediate family,not even the in-laws, but once I added a couple with three kids, all sense of restraint seemed futile, as usual.
My biggest problem is going to be the teeny-tiny size of my oven. I have back-up plans for lighting the barbecue and using it as a warming station. I made my sausage rolls yesterday and froze them. They will defrost perfectly to be served as appetizers with aperitifs of egg-nog and champagne.
I have pretty much decided that Sherry Trifle will be for dessert. I hope that the few "True Americans" on my guest list will not be devastated by the absence of pecan pie and pumpkin cheese cake.
I still remember the reaction a few years ago from a friend, who is away in Mexico this year, when I suggested cooking beef instead of turkey. "Well O.K." she said. " We'll just go and have turkey at a diner before we come to your house "
Turkey is an imperative, as I have learned. I don't mind. It's an easy thing to cook and the house will be deliciously perfumed.


  1. Sounds wonderful. I'm doing a spiral cut ham again this year as my visitors are at the age when there is more than one mother to please.

    I don't compete... I'll wait for the grandchildren to appear before I "show my hand".

  2. I've never really taken in too much info about the whole Thanksgiving thing. In fact, the extent of my knowledge on the subject has been supplied by your good self by way of this post.

  3. Have fun, it sounds like it's going to be a great party!

  4. ahh, i could have helped you out with the turkey situation!
    and, how bad are you contemplating not doing turkey!?.. lol, jeeezzz, even I wouldn't do that to an american :o)

  5. All, I have campaigned to have Thanksgiving consolidated with Christmas, to no avail. It is an early beginning to the season when all my clients are pre-occupied with shopping and ski-ing and anything but business. Unfortunately I live in the real world where we have to eat, and not just leftover turkey. Sigh!

    Jimmy, watch this space. I'll probably expound some more after Thursday/Turkey Day. I especially love it when Americans ask us how we celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe. Huh?

  6. I love Thanksgiving; it is probably my favorite holiday. There's not the pressure that Christmas seems to bring and it really is just one day and one meal instead of endless parties and dinners that Christmas brings on. I actually enjoy the differences that each Thanksgiving table brings instead of worrying about turkey, dressing, or some other dish just having to be on the table. It sounds like you have a wonderful day planned!

    PS: Your dessert sounds far better than pumpkin or pecan pie... :)

  7. Dahling, if I've told you once, I've told you twenty times, it is a biological imperative for born-in-the-USA honkies out of the South to eat, on the last Thursday of every November:

    –turkey and stuffing
    –canned sweet potatoes with marshmallows melted and torched on the top
    –whipped, real, if you must (although flakes have been had) mashed potatoes and turkey giblet gravy
    –canned Jolly Green Giant green beans with Campbell's mushroom soup, undiluted, stirred in, and almonds thrown liberally on top
    –canned cranberry sauce cut in thick round slices
    –pumpkin pie, homemade with canned pumpkin filling, and a frozen pie crust with canned spray whipped cream

    and, if you are from Oklahoma, canned Jolly Green Giant creamed peas.

    It's the only holiday we have that remotely resembles a family gathering...

    But, I must admit, I now dispense entirely with the family part of the equation and satisfy the imperative with a trip to Mimi's Café in SoCal or any diner in Las Vegas. I hate having my happy memories contradicted by reality... LOL! in ¡Mexico!

  8. Dear Where's My... sounds fine by me, would love to pull up a chair with the other flotsam and jetsam, and consume some stuffing ! Funny, this is the second place in less than half an hour where I've seen pumpkin cheesecake mentioned, after having possibly never heard of it before, as well as I can remember... the first time just a few minutes ago was here :

    And many happy returns of the holiday to you and all... I wonder what the Pliers will be having down in sunny Mexico for Thxgiving dinner... turkey burritos I'll bet, with creamed peas. For us it was always creamed onions on the side, my father's favorite !

  9. Sausage rolls and trifle sound good. It must be difficult thanksgiving, then christmas then new year... that's a lot of celebrating to get through in such a short space of time. You'd think whoever came up with all of this would have spread it out a little ;0)

  10. Ooh, Thanksgiving. One day I will invite myself and the rest of my village to your house. I'm sure you'd cope! Gobble, gobble...

  11. I used to do what we called "Thanksgiving with strays"! This year, as it's my younger daughter's first trip back from college, it's just us, which is easier but not as much fun.

  12. I am going to either barbeque chicken or just do old fashioned fried chicken. Enjoy your Thanksgiving as you share with others.

  13. Mmm...sounds good! It's nice to share your holidays with an eclectic group of people. In my opinion, it makes things much more interesting!

  14. Last year an American friend in the south of France had Thanksgiving and invited some of us ex-pats plus a good few Europeans. There was some bewilderment as to what this occasion was all about, but where things really came apart was in the singing of American songs afterward!

    Best of luck on that merger...

  15. Homemade sausage rolls..... mmmmm. I am heading back to the UK for a visit in Feb/March 2010. I already have mental list of what I intend to eat/drink/do when I get there. Sausage rolls just got added to the list. And scotch eggs now that I think of it.

    I think the only Holiday we have that comes close to the spirit of Thanksgiving is the Harvest Festival, isn't it? You know the one... it's when we pull from our cupboards all the cans of peas, beans, and carrots that have been languishing for a year and give them to the church.

  16. Dave, The old churches always look so wonderful buried in flowers, sheaves of wheat and other abundance. Scotch eggs and Cornish Pasties can be found here at The Duke of Edinburgh Pub in Cupertino.
    Pork pies are an "only in England" experience I crave.

  17. Deborah, The singing part doesn't sound familiar but the party sounds fun.

    Michelle, I agree completely.

    TechnoBabe, We need a turkey to feed the ever-growing group.

    Kate, Strays are welcome, but it will be nice to have your daughter to yourself.

  18. Maddie, thirty-five guests for sit-down dinner was my record. We had to use the ping pong table and all the plastic lawn furniture. I sure don't woryy about matching china. Sometimes I send out an advisory that people must bring their own cutlery.

    St. Jude, That is my point exactly. It is too much all at once.

  19. Shattered, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Pliers, You know I was talking about you, Right?

    Owen, Is pumpkin cheesecake a recent invention? It seems ubiquitous here. You reminded me of a pumpkin cheesecake anecdote. I can see there will be holiday themed posts all over blogdom.

  20. So, ER, christmas comes early in California, does it?
    I am already struggling with the thought of how to run a nice big joint of beef past my beloved for christmas. And christmas pudding? forget it!

  21. Third time pays for all! I keep losing my posts.

    Thanksgiving requires a turkey, and along with it all the trimmings. But best of all are the good friends and family sharing it all.

  22. Friko, The day before Thanksgiving is the most travelled all year and the day after is Black Friday, whens hops go from red ink to black, because of all the sales. Friday is also the day that many Americans procure their Christmas trees. Trucks full of Douglas Fir are thundering down the roads from the Northern States as we speak. Many will be badly tied to the roofs of family cars and be part of the traffic reports on the freeways from now until the end of December.

    Jean, Don't you have some turkeys as personal friends? Conflict of interest?

  23. "" I especially love it when Americans ask us how we celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe. Huh?""

    These are the people I live for..... I'd tell them a big story about how you all never had to worry about getting food from the indians, they all died out during the plague years.

  24. @eloh, "facetious" is one of my favorite words, I just have to keep looking up the spelling. Gotta love those plague years!