This wasn't my first Thanksgiving abroad. I'd spent one in Madrid and one in Paris with a friend while living in Madrid. The Paris Thanksgiving was actually one of my most memorable because we somehow stumbled into an Irish pub having an American Thanksgiving party. (An American party in an Irish pub in Paris. Let that sink in.) The American party was serving typical food and we were lucky enough to grab the last piece of pumpkin pie!
But this was different. Not only was this our first Thanksgiving being married, but it was my husband's first Thanksgiving ever. The pressure was on to impress him with our grand feasting tradition. Thanksgiving scenes take place in nearly every American series and countless movies, therefore he was already familiar with the common customs.
Even though we were living abroad and no family would be joining us, I decided to prepare our favorite dishes regardless. My mom mailed us a box of crucial Thanksgiving items: a carved wooden pilgrim statue, a turkey Beanie Baby, an apron, a US engraved glass serving platter (complete with bald eagle), and Georgia napkins. Armed with my recipes, I headed to the grocery store to find the necessary Thanksgiving ingredients.
At the grocery store, several items were quite difficult to find. Locating creamed corn for the corn casserole and the fried onions for the green bean casserole was nearly impossible. Boxed Christmas stuffing was already being sold, so I picked up some of that for good measure. (Sidenote: because obviously Thanksgiving is not celebrated in England, Christmas lights, candy, and food are put up right after Halloween. Talk about an extended holiday season!) The only Thanksgiving staples I was unsuccessful in finding were cranberry sauce, pumpkin/pecan pie, and a turkey. To confess, there were a few Christmas turkeys, but the idea of preparing a massive turkey for two people just was too much for me. I thought about buying smaller cuts of turkey, but decided to buy a whole chicken instead. Yes, I prepared a Thanksgiving chicken. Does that make me a bad American?
With my Thanksgiving chicken in the oven, I encountered another setback. We don't own so many cooking pans the right size for making casseroles. I had to make the corn casserole in muffin trays. The top of the green bean casserole ended up a little too crispy (nice way of saying burnt), however the pineapple casserole came out right. The chicken was delicious I might add.
To not feel so lonely about our small Thanksgiving dinner, we Skyped with my parents who were together with the family at my aunt's house. To end the night, "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" was on TV, which I thought was a little odd, but I'll take it!
All in all our first Thanksgiving was a little unconventional, but my we were full for days after so I guess it was a success!
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