Last November I spent Thanksgiving eating pizza and assembling Ikea furniture, and that was okay. I consoled myself with the thought that I would at least be home in Seattle for Christmas. But knowing that this year I wouldn’t be home for either holiday, I felt like I needed to do something, even if it was small. So I started planning a mini-Thanksgiving dinner for mein (vegetarian) Schatz and I. By Monday that morphed into plans for a feast for the two of us and his Russian office-mate.
Still, I’m not much of a cook, and I had set myself up for a real challenge. But the pressure was relieved a bit by having only non-Americans to cook for – no need to worry about whether I’ve successfully replicated your mother’s homemade cranberry sauce or candied yams. The next challenge came in the form of having to make everything from scratch, given that there isn’t anything premade here for Thanksgiving (i.e., no Stovetop Stuffing, no Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Filling, no frozen pie crust, etc.).* Did I mention I’ve never actually made any traditional Thanksgiving dish from scratch before, ever?
Anyway, I found myself a German website that specializes in American recipes (their tagline line is: more than hamburgers and hotdogs), and had a whole section on Thanksgiving. This helped simplify the process because they only used foodstuffs that are available here (meaning I didn’t have to scour the internet for the German equivalent of baking powder, corn syrup, etc). My only complaint is the recipes lacked on specifics, meaning I had to find out for myself how to turn a whole pumpkin into puree and how to roast and peel chestnuts (which was such a pain that I vow to never eat chestnuts again).
What was on the menu, you ask?
Baked turkey breast with butter and rosemary (still intimidated by the thought of roasting a whole turkey…)
Whipped sweet potatoes
Apple and walnut salad
Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
Two bottles of Spätburgunder from the Meyer-Näkel winery
Not bad, huh? The food got rave reviews from the German and the Russian, and I thought it was pretty tasty too. You can check out the photos over here. And maybe next year, I’ll even invite over an American or two!
* Or maybe there actually is, but I didn’t plan far enough in advance to scope out any of the fancy food shops and had to rely on my local Edeka.