2 December 2019

Turkey time


Thanksgiving is not a holiday in France, and as it falls on a week day many wait until the weekend to celebrate, as we did.

Above: an all-American apéritif spread of patés, sliced cheeses and meats; homemade hummus; from-scratch pecan and pumpkin pies

Below: the roasted turkey gets carved in the kitchen


Where to find American-style ingredients in Paris:

La Grande Épicerie Bon Marché
Marks & Spencers
The Real McCoy
Monoprix
Carrefour

bread rolls [made w/orange blossom water] available at:
Mamiche 
32 rue du Château d'Eau 75010

***

I grew up in the U.S. in a lively, and verbal, international family. French, German, mostly English (and sometimes Italian when relatives arrived from Rome) were spoken at home, and on Thanksgiving, besides traditional side dishes, some untraditional ones would put in an appearance every year. There might be calves' brains au beurre blanc, potato dumplings, apfel strudel and, depending on who requested what, gnocchi, sauerkraut, kugel or Caribbean red beans and rice, shiny with pork fat.

I was quite small when I accompanied my father one night to a place where hundreds of live turkeys were flapping about, and he picked one out. It was exciting. Soon after, that turkey appeared on our table, roasted to luscious perfection. My mother was an excellent cook (as was my father) and made sure that all the usual suspects - stuffing, cranberry sauce, candied yams, vegetable dishes - were made from scratch and (as much as possible) fresh not boxed or canned ingredients.

The list below are things not usually, if ever, seen on our Thanksgiving table when I was growing up, though I realize that for many, they are the stuff memories are made of:


- Canned sweet potatoes turned into casseroles covered in melted marshmallows
- Canned cranberry sauce (frozen berries were preferred)
- Ambrosia - what's that?
- Canned green beans w/canned cream of mushroom soup casseroles topped w/fried onions - also from a can
- Creamed onions (where's the cream?)
- Red (cherry?) jello mold fruit "salad" w/suspended canned fruits
- Green (lime?) jello mold made w/cottage cheese and crushed canned pineapple
- Tasteless canned black olives
- 5-Cup “will keep forever in the fridge" Salad
- Mashed potatoes from dried flakes in a box
- Ready-made stuffing from boxes or bags
- Mixed frozen vegetables
- Cakes from boxed mixes ("just add an egg")
- Store-bought pecan or pumpkin pie
- Canned pumpkin
- Whipped cream  from plastic tubs (where's the cream?)
- Cheese balls (today I love a good cheese ball but again, it wasn't part of our family holidays) - BPJ

***

- Here's hoping you had a very Happy Thanksgiving, whatever was on your table -

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