Thanksgiving 2008

Usually every American we know hosts a Thanksgiving dinner so we get to celebrate several times with several different American families around Paris. This year we were the only ones hosting Thanksgiving and we found ourselves in an interesting predicament.

We didn’t want to exclude French friends who are accustomed to always coming to Thanksgiving dinner.And as the holiday approached we realized that we’ve done “too good of a job” in the past leaving high expectations, and causing the invitations to spread like wildfire as everybody we knew wanted to share this memorable experience with all of their closest friends as well. So you see how the invitations got out of control, and two weeks before Thanksgiving 25 people had confirmed their presence at our holiday celebration.

But how? Fortunately there is a group of junior high girls in Colorado that adopted our Thanksgiving day as their sister church project. They collected tons of great holiday stuff we just can’t find here like Stovetop stuffing, creamed corn, yams, fried onions, cranberries and pumpkin pie mix. I kept everything that was as simple as “just add water” And passed to my guests the other ingredients with traditional American
Thanksgiving recipes. We had very strict rules, bringing a French dish to Thanksgiving was off limits this year, everyone would participate in the recreation of a traditional meal and savor many unique flavors that they have never tasted before.

It was a culinary experience for everybody. In more ways than one. Everyone arrived at the door with their carry-in dish, and the
same worried look on their face saying, “I had no idea what this was supposed to look like. I don’t know if I did it right. It might not taste right.” But all in all everything was exactly what it was supposed to taste like, right down to Gramies Thanksgiving salad.

The only thing that wasn’t perfect were the dinner rolls, something I made myself. I’ve made them every year and every year they’ve been perfect, but this year I’m still getting used to the oven and it was WAY too hot, so when the bread was supposed to be rising, it was already cooking!

10 o’clock we had breakfast together with the early risers. We watched a recorded version of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, 2007 of course.

Yum! Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Wassle: hot tea, cranberry juice, apple juice, orange slices, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg.

Here two friends are showing of their beautifully decorated orange that will go in the wassle, a favorite holiday treat.

NOON – When we sat down at the table Nichole told the Thanksgiving story and read Abraham Lincoln’s declaration that this tradition become a national holiday. Everybody at the table shared something they were thankful for. And one of our guests got the honor to read the blessing for our table and our guests. Then we sang “I will enter his gates” accompanied by David on guitar. It was magical. Here’s a little clip of us singing. It was filmed with a little pocket camera so the quality is not great and you loose some of the magic since the microphone only picks up three of the closest voices.

1 o’clock – Let the Feast Begin!

Here are some of the delicious dishes that graced our table this year.

Turkey!!! And the house smelled soooo good!

Waffle cornucopias

Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Jelly
Green Bean Casserole
Yams with Marshmallows
Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Nuts
Creamed Corn
Squash Gratin
Homemade Stuffing
Stovetop Stuffing

4 o’clock – Desserts were in abundance with 8 pies. Of course everybody had eaten too much and the left over pies would be shared with the choir the following Monday.

Pumpkin Pie from Scratch I don’t even know many Americans that go to that much trouble, but it’s sooo good. We also had one made from a can, but the homemade one won the taste-test despite being square.

Apple Crumble

American Apple Pie with the crust on top!


6 o’clock – A good old fashioned game of “pin the hat on the Turkey.” This is Rob being spun in a circle by his friends.

Diono won the game, it was his birthday after all, so that was kinda nice.

We played games late into the night. The last guests left around midnight. What a memorable Thanksgiving!

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