to be jealous that Americans get Thanksgiving AND Christmas?

(297 Posts)
FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:26:35

Thanksgiving sounds really good. Like Christmas, but no presents to worry about (AFAIK?), just FOOD!

Are there any Americans around who can tell me what Thanksgiving is like? Do you prefer it to Christmas?

threesocksmorgan Wed 21-Nov-12 16:27:15

but don't they only do one day at christmas?
(going by films here)

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:28:04

I don't know... No one likes Boxing Day really though do they? It's just depressing.

legoballoon Wed 21-Nov-12 16:28:39

Yeh, but they also get George Bush, Mitt Romney and Hersheys chocolate. Swings and roundabouts.

Yeah but their Christmas is rubbish. Everything's open on Christmas afternoon. They don't fill themselves with dates and those jelly fruit things and satsumas and watch Love Actually 47 times. wink

VestaCurry Wed 21-Nov-12 16:29:51

Americans generally get much less annual leave than here in the UK though (I think), so we're better off in that sense (unless self employed).

threesocksmorgan Wed 21-Nov-12 16:30:04

see I love it.....perhaps cos dd does not sleep christmas eve(17 now) so I am always tired on christmas day, boxing day is so relaxing

zinaida Wed 21-Nov-12 16:30:08

Speak for yourself, I LOVE boxing day!

ObiWan Wed 21-Nov-12 16:30:15

Americans really know how to do Holidays.

And movies, and food, and gas stations.

Still, we have Boxing Day, with sales, and indigestion, and in-laws, and stuff.

honeytea Wed 21-Nov-12 16:30:50

They seem to do Halloween better than us too.

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:31:15

Maybe we'll adopt Thanksgiving like we've adopted their Halloween traditions?? I'm going to try and start that smile

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 21-Nov-12 16:32:22

Yes America has far more public holidays than we do. However, most jobs come with far lower holiday entitlement because of this. So no I would rather be able to choose when I take my holiday and not have to take it on the last Thursday in November and then have to go back to work on the Friday.
Add to that shocking maternity leave of 6 weeks (second only IMO to Australia where certain professions are exempt from having maternity leave!!!!) then no I am much happier here.

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:32:26

honeytea I agree, I love Halloween smile I want to go out in the streets like in the films and for everyone to be dressed up as ghosts and witches.

CombustionEngine Wed 21-Nov-12 16:32:29

I always found it took the shine off the one day of Christmas then back to work and the sports obsession was tedious!

But I'm a Brit and so had no emotional connection to it.

LadyBeagle Wed 21-Nov-12 16:33:01

So if they have turkey for Thanksgiving, what to they have for Christmas dinner?
And do they have mincemeat pies?

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:34:22

And if I was American I would probably never go abroad, just spend my very minimal holidays exploring the amazing landscape.

But yes, many other reasons to prefer the UK really.

psychomum5 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:36:22

I love boxing day. I would not trade boxing day for thanksgiving.

MariaMandarin Wed 21-Nov-12 16:36:36

It means that Christmas decorations don't go up in the shops until December which is a good thing. Until then they have kind of Autumny displays. I don't know if that means you have to all of your Christmas shopping in December though because that would be too much.

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:37:01

We used to alternate our Christmas dinner; one year baked stuffed shrimp, the next a standing rib roast.

I never ate or even saw a mince pie until I moved to the UK.

No, there are not presents at Thanksgiving/

Frontpaw Wed 21-Nov-12 16:37:33

But we get bonfire night and that's lots better than a turkey.

MariaMandarin Wed 21-Nov-12 16:37:54

Yeah just drive for 30 hours straight and get to Florida or something. Imagine how much stuff you could take if you didn't need to get on a plane?

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:38:17

By "many other reasons" I just mean their healthcare, lack of holidays and Republicans. And their TV is fecking awful. But they do have New York, Thanksgiving, wolves, bears and the wilds of Canada on the doorstep...and sunshine in summer.

Right, I'm moving.

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:39:19

I was about to type 'what, they don't get bonfire night???'


My Mum's american so I get both grin

Although I'm working tomorrow night so this year I will just get re-heated food sad

peeriebear Wed 21-Nov-12 16:39:29

I'm pleased we don't have a Thanksgiving type winter celebration as well as Christmas... Come Christmas day I'd be all "but we did this last month!" I just like having the one big day smile

Yes but they also have Twinkies hmm grin

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:39:43

Exactly Maria!

hootiemcboob Wed 21-Nov-12 16:39:59

We have Fourth of July!!

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:40:04

Don't forget about Mexico on the other doorstep.


VolumeOfACone Wed 21-Nov-12 16:40:55

I think bonfire night is more appealing than thanksgiving. A big giant exciting fire and fireworks, or a roast turkey? You can have your family over and cook a turkey any time you like!

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:41:16

Fuckity I'm jealous of you too then grin

AndiMac Wed 21-Nov-12 16:42:38

Canada is better. They get Thanksgiving at the start of October so you have a chance to overcome your turkey overdose in time for Christmas. They also do Halloween, Christmas and Boxing Day too!

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:42:59

I do love Bonfire Night. I'm not saying I want to sacrifice any of our UK holidays to get Thanksgiving. Except Boxing Day can feck off if it likes. As can January.

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:43:13

We had our Thanksgiving dinner weeks ago, BTW, when my mom was here from the States. It was delish.

I think tomorrow's menu plan says tacos...

TheCrackFox Wed 21-Nov-12 16:44:19

I've always thought that Thanksgiving is in the wrong month. The end of January is pretty grim so they should have organised it for then.

MariaMandarin Wed 21-Nov-12 16:44:32

Would be a right pain to have get to my parents for 2 special days within the course of a month. They start harping on about Xmas at the beginning of October so Thanksgiving would probably begin in the middle of bloody summer.

FairPhyllis Wed 21-Nov-12 16:44:48

They don't have turkey at Christmas - most people have ham or beef which is WRONG.

I do not particularly enjoy Thanksgiving - it's not my festival after all - and I don't think the food is that great - people are not used to doing roasts so they put weird combinations of food together. Oh yes, and it is all served dry, without gravy.

Every year without fail someone asks me how we celebrate Thanksgiving in England. hmm

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:45:46

Mmm, tacos... Happy Thanksgiving Tee!

Jusfloatingby Wed 21-Nov-12 16:46:19

My friend moved to America for a couple of years. She said on Christmas Eve she drove to the local Shopping Centre and there was no queues of cars to get in, no manic rushing around, no crowds panic buying............. and strangely, even though that drives her mad over here, she really really missed it over there. It just didn't feel 'Christmassy'.

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:46:27


hootiemcboob Wed 21-Nov-12 16:47:14

We do too have gravy!!!

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:47:49

Phew hootie!

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:48:19

You've been going to the wrong Thanksgiving dinners, FP. I made two kinds of gravy this year.

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:48:34

I was about to request the thread be pulled. Would not be jealous of a gravyless Thanksgiving.

HellothisisJoanie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:49:01

I'm in England but off to an Americans dinner on sat. What to expect?

MariaMandarin Wed 21-Nov-12 16:49:46

I was in America for Thanksgiving once. Hardly any restaurants were open and in the one that was we couldn't face the Thanksgiving meal because it looked disgusting. Don't candied yams play a part? And loads of green beans and mash.

crypes Wed 21-Nov-12 16:50:17

And also they dont eat roast potatos, just mash with everything, and no gravy, its just so undignified.

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:50:32

Turkey, mash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, gravy, rolls, pie...stuff like that!

HellothisisJoanie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:50:46

I was in USA for Xmas once. Was ace. We went out.

louisdog Wed 21-Nov-12 16:51:51

YABU - one stress-filled family day, stuffing your face with food you don't even like, is enough!

Actually I am going to my first TG dinner tomorrow at American friends' house, will let you know! I hope they deep-fry a turkey in a dustbin outside, sounds fun.

I live in Canada and miss Bonfire night terribly. Thanksgiving is blah and just an excuse to stuff your face. I also have a theory that one of the reasons that obesity is an issue in North America is Thanksgiving. Bear with me. I 'give up' about the 21st December; eat pies for breakfast and cake with everything. I finally go 'aarrgghh' and start eating healthily again about the 3rd January. Time to put on about 5 pounds and feel a little crappy. If you 'give up' in November and don't start eating well again until January, that is a serious chunk of the year.

I will do a study one of these days.

charlmarascoxo Wed 21-Nov-12 16:52:13

I'd love to eat a thanksgiving dinner.

There seems to be so many holidays over there - Labor Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving.

I'd move over there in a second smile

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:53:02

I do want to have Xmas in New York one day, in a posh hotel with an ice rink outside and a huge Xmas tree. Also need to have Xmas in Germany, have wanted to ever since doing German GCSE and reading about their very Xmassy Xmases with real candles on their real trees. (But they do open their presents on Xmas eve, the fools.)

MissCellania Wed 21-Nov-12 16:53:12

There won't be twinkies for long, the company has gone bust!

MitsoTsukahara Wed 21-Nov-12 16:53:47

Well done AndiMac, I was wondering when a fellow Canadian was going to jump in! Yes Canadian Thanksgiving is lovely, we don't go OTT like the Americans, plus our (well mine, at least) pumpkin pie is Chiffon and therefore better than any pumpkin pie anywhere else!

grovel Wed 21-Nov-12 16:53:57

Butterball turkeys.

Sizzle'n Lean Bacon.

Peter Pan peanut butter.


FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:54:16

(Sorry about not being arsed to write Christmas in full.)

LadyBeagle Wed 21-Nov-12 16:55:04

No roast potatoes shock
Now that's just wrong.
Though it's a nice thought, that you can have one day a year to be thankful for what you have, and celebrate only that.

lljkk Wed 21-Nov-12 16:55:10

"Yes America has far more public holidays than we do."


We get
MLK day, President's day, NOTHING for Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labour Day, Colombus Day (generally swapped for day after TGiving), TGiving (one day only), Vetereran's day (new one on me), Christmas, NYD. That'sTEN.

Brits typically get
2 days at easter, 2 days in May, 1 day in August, 2 days at Christmas, NYD.
That is EIGHT.

Not a big difference, and a lot of Americans will only get a day off if it falls on a weekday: ie, you only get Christmas off it your workplace is closed that day. Oh, and there is NO legal right to any annual paid leave in many, maybe most US jobs.

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:55:16

Oh please, do not judge us by our mass produced beer, I beg you.

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:55:20

Chiffon hmm Dustbin turkey hmm Butterball turkey hmm hmm

CombustionEngine Wed 21-Nov-12 16:55:52

Don't forget green jelly, actual jelly, with olives and lettuce set in it!

It was hideous.

However, American gravy is delish. My mil taught me how to make gravy, I grew up with Bisto

valiumredhead Wed 21-Nov-12 16:56:11

Don't be jealous - they have ONE day off for Thanksgiving and back to work Boxing Day!

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:56:16

Exactly LadyBeagle - just food, friends and family all together. Sounds lovely.

They get a lot of holidays but next to no annual leave. And only 6 weeks unpaid mat leave. And, no healthcare. Really, don't be jealous of the stat holidays. Black Friday (when all the shops go mental) is starting on the Thanksgiving evening this year so the workers have to leave their families and go into work.

HellothisisJoanie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:57:24

Oh these are über foodies. Make margaritas from scratch , ribs marinade for days etc in summer.

I'm wearing Meat Pants.

grovel Wed 21-Nov-12 16:57:36

Tee2072, I love your country which gives me the right to be all judgemental about it.

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:58:10

Okay grovel. hmm

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:58:19

Olives, lettuce and green jelly? hmm These foods all sound very weird but I survived a Twinkie once so am up for trying them if it means I get a Thanksgiving!

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 16:59:42

I didn't realise your post was judgemental grovel I though you were just informing me of Thanksgiving foods! What is butterball turkey anyway?

zeeboo Wed 21-Nov-12 17:00:14

I loved thanksgiving growing up in the US and really miss it now. It really heralded the start of the holiday season.

zukiecat Wed 21-Nov-12 17:00:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

grovel Wed 21-Nov-12 17:01:00

Butterball turkey is (or was) a pre-basted, frozen turkey sold by Swift Foods.

Molepomandmistletoe Wed 21-Nov-12 17:02:00

We NEEEEEED Thanksgiving. Just for the extra excuse to pig out <greedy pig emotion>and watch American Football.

We have bonfire night! I'd rather that than Thanksgiving, too much hassle wrt work and holiday too close together imo.

FairPhyllis Wed 21-Nov-12 17:02:51

No American I have ever met does gravy. I went to what I thought was going to be a fancy NYE dinner party last year and was served dry boiled ham, green beans and dry boiled potatoes ffs. And people say British cooking is bad.

The usual accompaniments to Thanksgiving dinner are a green bean casserole with mushrooms that is made with condensed mushroom soup <boak>, cornbread, which is utterly blah, potatoes in ANY form other than roasted, and sweet potato (which I will admit is quite nice). I think it's mostly that people don't really do roasts so they don't have a lot of experience of how to do them well.

And the television for Thanksgiving is crap - it just means that the schedules get loaded up with college football.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 21-Nov-12 17:03:01

I'm a bit jealous too. I'm more jealous of Halloween though, a proper American Halloween looks like a lot of fun. But I wouldn't swop thanksgiving or Halloween for the jubilee and the royal wedding and the like, royal celebrations are much better.

I do recommend Christmas in New York. I did it pre children, and it was awesome.

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 17:05:31

Ugh, god no, they can have all our royal celebrations as far as I'm concerned!

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 17:06:31

Ooh, what did you do for your New York Christmas Outraged? (If you don't mind me asking you a question now I've rubbished your views on the royals.. ;))

SantyClaws Wed 21-Nov-12 17:06:34

yy Thanksgiving was aaaages ago in Canada - long forgotten. I miss Bonfire night but January is made so much better by being able to go skiing every weekend grin

we get govt healthcare in Canada, less annual leave but more bank hols (one a month, generally) and we get shopping Boxing day too and days in lieu if it all falls over a weekend

i feed canadians Christmas pud and mince pies - most of them have never had either...a travesty

NatashaBee Wed 21-Nov-12 17:06:56

Not really fussed about Thanksgiving, although I will probably rustle up a turkey and then we can have turkey sandwiches for a few days. Black Friday shopping will be fun though, most stores open at midnight and have some pretty good deals on so I'm hoping to finish up my last few bits of Christmas shopping.

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 17:07:34

Honestly, FP, you need new American friends.

NettoSpookerstar Wed 21-Nov-12 17:09:41

I'm cooking a Thanksgiving meal for DD and I on Sunday.
It's my birthday and this is my treat to myself, as I love to cook.
We aren't celebrating Thanksgiving, but I've always wanted to taste the meal, and given I live in a small Scottish town, the only way to do it is to cook it.
I had to order the tinned pumpkin for the pie on Amazon, it better be here before then.

FairPhyllis Wed 21-Nov-12 17:13:00

Tee Nothing wrong with my friends - it's just that an awful lot of your countrymen apparently rejected gravy along with the yoke of colonial oppression! wink

I was very surprised actually as normally my friends are real foodies. But apparently the form of Thanksgiving dinner is immutable.

AppleOgies Wed 21-Nov-12 17:13:13

Naaaah I think having something else would be faff... It would make Christmas less Christmasy IMO.

grovel Wed 21-Nov-12 17:13:33

The Algonquin Hotel in New York. The New Yorker magazine vibe.
Partying in Rush Street in Chicago.
The Grand Canyon.
Well-mixed, generous Martinis.

Some of the many things I love in the USA (in case I offended Tee)

FairPhyllis Wed 21-Nov-12 17:14:06

Oh and I'd forgotten about pumpkin pie: V I L E. I will accept apple as a substitute though.

Tee2072 Wed 21-Nov-12 17:14:54

The form of Thanksgiving dinner is varied and usually very yummy.

This is why you need new friends. Ones who can actually cook, for example.


mamaus Wed 21-Nov-12 17:20:10

Another American here, have been feeling a bit homesick all day thinking about everyone getting together tomorrow for ridiculous amounts of gravy!!
Seriously, who doesn't have gravy?

grovel Wed 21-Nov-12 17:20:30

Boston Harbour was awash with Bisto in 1773.

grovel Wed 21-Nov-12 17:22:53

Maybe FairPhyllis celebrated Thanksgiving in a dry county?

TheCrackFox Wed 21-Nov-12 17:28:34

No roast potatoes?!!

No gravy?!!

KitchenandJumble Wed 21-Nov-12 17:31:10

Thanksgiving is The Best Holiday Ever. I love it. I really like the sentiment behind it (giving thanks for what we have, even though I'm an atheist). And getting together with family and friends to enjoy a huge feast is amazing. None of the over-commercialization of Xmas, just a day to reflect and relax.

The food is amazing. Provided that the people doing the cooking are competent, of course! Contrary to some claims on this thread, I've never ever seen turkey served without gravy. The sides tend to be potatoes (mashed or roasted), stuffing (yum!), sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, plus green vegetables and salad. Pumpkin pie for dessert (double yum!).

I am always a bit puzzled when people in the U.K. start being rude about American cooking. They often mention some bizarre dish they once heard about, as though that were typical of American meals. It would be like saying that the English can't cook because all you'd ever heard of was beans on toast (a vile combination, if you ask me, shudder, shudder).

grovel Wed 21-Nov-12 17:31:30

TheCrackFox, it may explain why they don't have an obesity problem over there.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Wed 21-Nov-12 17:32:09

I'm American, I do love gravy but I do not do Thanksgiving nor do I miss or or have any desire to do so (though I do miss/have a desire for home gravy). I find it kinda odd to celebrate what is basically a lie to make us happier about our country's origins. I know many Americans who do not celebrate it either because they need to work or use it as a day of mourning/education (November is Indigenous American / First Nations Histories Month). When I did live in the States with my parents I did prefer it to Christmas, because Xmas was a lot more stressful, but now I don't do either and am much happier grin.

Shavuot is a proper holiday with proper holiday food like cheesecake.

Nancy66 Wed 21-Nov-12 17:37:26

is Thanksgiving a bigger deal than Christmas for most Americans?

juneau Wed 21-Nov-12 17:38:52

I'm British and DH is American so we celebrate everything. It's the best of all worlds - we have Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th July, Halloween AND Bonfire Night!

Today I've made pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread and tomorrow I'll be doing turkey (well, it's a chicken actually), sausages, bacon, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, veggies, etc.

Americans tend to have ham at Christmas - turkey is for Thanksgiving.

juneau Wed 21-Nov-12 17:41:18

is Thanksgiving a bigger deal than Christmas for most Americans?

Well, Thanksgiving is celebrated by everyone of all religions - so yes - its a bigger holiday because it's irrespective of religious affiliation. But IME Americans of a Christian persuasion celebrate both equally enthusiastically!

crazycanuck Wed 21-Nov-12 17:45:40

If you're in Newfoundland you get Thanksgiving AND Bonfire Night! See, us Canadians know how to do these things! grin

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Wed 21-Nov-12 17:49:05

Thanksgiving is not celebrated by everyone and there isn't really much build up to it.

Christmas gets a lot more air time and energy spent on it in media, schools, shopping centers, and by people. All other holidays near it tend to get brought into the media frenzy. Even those of us who don't celebrate it will spend energy on doing something else whereas with Thanksgiving it goes by without much energy at all if you don't.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 21-Nov-12 17:50:07

I always feel kind of hmm about Thanksgiving because of it's origins. I'm not convinced all Americans do feel thankful.

But,I have been on holiday in America over Thanksgiving (and Halloween) and there's no denying that there is a great atmosphere generally speaking.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 21-Nov-12 17:54:58

grin Think what you like about the Royals, but jubilee weekend was fab!

As was Christmas in New York. We did the usual stuff you would do in NY tbh, as it was the first time either of us had been (I went with my ex). On Christmas Day we had dinner at the hotel, and went skating at Rockefeller and although neither of us are religious, we went to the service at St Patricks Cathedral. I think it was St Patricks anyway! Somewhere on or near Fifth Avenue. It was a long time ago and I have a crap memory! I LOVED the Christmas service, it was really interesting and was vey friendly and welcoming to people of all faiths, or even none at all. On all the other days it was no different to any other time in December, just really really cold. We did a lot of shopping as we told our families they wouldn't be getting presents until we got home.

FeuDeRussie Wed 21-Nov-12 22:26:19

Thanks Outraged, it sounds great! Sorry for my slow reply, I went out straight from work.

MissCellania Wed 21-Nov-12 22:39:12

Do people really put marshmallows in sweet potato? That sounds fabulous.

PessaryPam Wed 21-Nov-12 22:56:01

Doesn't it mean having to eat turkey twice in the year rather then just once?

Im starting my thanksgiving prep as we speak,just stopped for a wine break grin

I have my brine done ready for the turkey and have made my cranberry sauce,just letting it cool and thicken

we have no family here apart from the kids ( 20,18,16 and 7) so its no stress just like a sunday roast on a thursday

Im having buffalo prime rib for Christmas though smile

Thanksgiving just confuses me really,a Thursday off then back to work Friday ( though everyone else in my house has Friday off ). I always feel like its Monday on Friday grin

OkayHazel Wed 21-Nov-12 23:33:47

I don't want to lose Bonfire night!

FreudiansSlipper Wed 21-Nov-12 23:36:19

its all back to normal on boxng day which feels very strange i like having two days to eat like a piggy relax and spend time with my family

bondigidum Wed 21-Nov-12 23:53:52

Oh I am so with you. I was asking DH if it would be acceptable for us to celebrate it even though neither of us know of any American relatives, he declined sad

I have no real experience of Thanksgiving, only what i've seen in movies (tbf most of my American knowledge is based on the movies grin naive I know) but it looks wonderful!! I would rather have that than Boxing day any day. Boxing day is shit. Its such a poor come down from the Christmas day hype. Oh and i'd happily trade Guy Fawkes for it!

Ahh.. I want to do Thanksgiving. I do like the America on the films. The American Christmas films fill my heart with such joy. I always wanted Christmas to be like that as a kid so it was always a major let down! Now I go all out for my DCs and try to emulate it as much as poss.. Sorry i'm off on a tangent grin

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 00:14:10

A country without roast potatoes is a country without hope!

A colleague brought homemade pumpkin pie into work last week. It was truly the most vile thing I have ever tasted. Think a tart full of sweetened ear wax, only worse. And I had to finish the slice as the producer of this foul concoction was so proud of it and kept asking me if I liked it.

<haunted by pumpkin pie>

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 00:25:20

Thanksgiving is amazing and I'll tell you why: it's not religious, so everyone (who is so inclined, which has always been everyone I've known back home) celebrates. We don't have to dance around with "Happy Holidays" or whatever- we're all celebrating the same damn thing.

Which is, ofc, pie. smile

And I second Tee's suggestion re: whomever had that terrible-sounding Thanksgiving meal. You need new friends!

You can't generlise what goes into a T-day meal. In New England (where my mum's family is from) we tend to have turkey, stuffing, cranberries etc, but in the South you might have ham, collard greens, definitely gravy, etc.

If your family is of a particular ethnic background, then you'll probably have some different things mixed in with the more American things.

It also means there's none of this putting trees up in mid-November (yes a friend on FB has!) No tree up until after Thanksgiving! It's the law!

We aren't having our big dinner til the weekend as I just can't get into the spirit with DH having to work. I will make pumpkin pie tomorrow, though, and some of the spinach dip I suggested to someone else on MN earlier today. I need something special. smile

Happy day everyone!

kickassangel Thu 22-Nov-12 00:30:28

I like having both. We din't get half terms at school so it's good to great a break, but we don't have to rush round seeing family. Turkey is pretty much the norm, so Christmas can be very different food wise.

No decorations up til after, but it is so mild here ATM that everyone is putting outdoor lights up rather than waiting til the ground freezes. Decorations come down quicker in a lot of places, but round here we wait til there's a warm patch, which can take til March in a bad winter.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 00:37:57

I love the end scene in Planes, Trains and Auntomobiles where Steve Martin invites John Candy to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Would bring a tear to a glass eye. blush

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 00:44:43

Where's your hand? Between two pillows...

DalekInAFestiveJumper Thu 22-Nov-12 00:45:40

Thanksgiving is a really lovely holiday. I've got my turkey brining in the fridge, ready to go. Tomorrow morning I'll watch the parade and put dinner on. It will be a ridiculous feast, but that's the fun of it.

kickassangel Thu 22-Nov-12 02:34:46

Apple crumble is in the oven smile

freerangechickens Thu 22-Nov-12 03:10:30

Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday until I had my kids, and then Christmas reigns. There are some truly awful meals out there, but I make everything from scratch here. Today we made a spiced cranberry/pinot noir sauce, dinner rolls, sweet potato with a brown sugar pecan topping, orange spice pumpkin pie and corn chowder soup with cayenne. Tomorrow, DH is in charge of the turkey and deviled eggs, and I've got the garlic mashed potatoes, pancetta, pearl onion and green apple stuffing, and we'll be making tons and tons of gravy.

KeatsiePie Thu 22-Nov-12 03:40:23

Thanksgiving can be this big family thing where you fly all the way back to your/your partner's hometown for a 4-day weekend (no one goes back to work on the Friday). Spending 2 out of the 4 days traveling can be tough, especially as workloads always seem heavy this time of year, but of course it's great to see family and it helps with the holiday split: often 1 spouse's family gets Thanksgiving and the other spouse's family gets Christmas.

Or it can be a chance to get together and have a big fancy meal with friends who have also chosen not to fly that year (sometimes called "Thanksgiving orphans dinner" or similar when the people involved are young b/c when you're in your 20s it can feel really weird not to go home for Thanksgiving).

Either way it is not usually as big a deal as Christmas. Of course this will vary for people depending on their practices (religious and otherwise) but there's far less decorating, advertising, etc., there's not a nonstop presence of it the way there is with Christmas music and lights everywhere and all that.

I think it's the source of more stress than Christmas as people often feel obligated to travel with kids to create family memories, etc., with less time off. On the other hand, no presents, just great food. There is a tradition that the Christmas tree and the lights on the house go up right after Thanksgiving, it's seen as kicking off the Christmas season. So in a way they do get lumped together -- it's the start of the holidays.

What is Boxing Day, anyway?

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 06:16:07

shock Where the actual hell have you been having your Thanksgivings, that there's no gravy! I've lived in America my entire life and never have I heard of such a thing.

We're celebrating Friday and having a roasted herbed turkey and rolls and cherry cobbler and pumpkin praline cake and garlic mashed potatoes with GRAVY FOR GOD'S SAKE and maple-ginger carrots and brussel sprouts with bacon and appetizers and wine except not me as I am pregnant and who knows what else.

I make ham at Christmas. Sometimes we have duck if it's been a good hunting year. smile

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 06:17:23

And Christmas is the entire month of December for me, not one day!

TanteRose Thu 22-Nov-12 06:31:38

"a roasted herbed turkey and rolls and cherry cobbler and pumpkin praline cake and garlic mashed potatoes with GRAVY FOR GOD'S SAKE and maple-ginger carrots and brussel sprouts with bacon and appetizers and wine"


I'm getting on a plane and coming to yours, CY grin

CombustionEngine Thu 22-Nov-12 06:39:33

Pumpkin pie is yummy! And cornbread is wonderful, absolutely the best thing to eat with chilli!

We're having pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie at Christmas rather than Christmas pudding, that's our mixed heritage house!

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 06:49:49

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Yeah, DH gets only two weeks holiday for the year. He also gets 9 other days (e.g. Christmas, Good Friday)

Oh and whomever said Christmas displays weren't up, not true, we've had trees in stores for at least a month and plenty of houses have Christmas things up. DS and I were calling it Happy Chrisgiving today because we saw a lot of lights and plastic candy canes up.

However, my friend and I sat on the beach today (about 20oC and sunny clear skies) and got a little sunburned (oops) while the kids played in the waves and dug a big sandy hole, so sixes and two threes.

Plenty of Americans have ham for T'giving. No, it doesn't usually have gravy on it. I'm a little puzzled at the idea, what gravy do you make with ham...??

Every American household I've been to has had gravy for T'giving if they have turkey. I was feeling lazy so I bought ready made gravy which I'll doctor up.

Soft rolls warm from the oven are fab, I've got the butter flake parbaked ones for tomorrow. Yum. Candied Yams (sweet potatoes with brown sugar and butter and often (but not for us) marshmallows) are like dessert with your main course. We are having squash too to use up the last of my fall decor.

I like mash, but the family tend to shout me down so I suspect we are having roast pots tomorrow.

Pumpkin pie is yuck, but pecan rocks. We are having apple and blackberry tomorrow (non traditional but I have blackberries and fancy them in a pie) with good vanilla icecream (much better than your average UK icecream)

How can you not love a holiday that is celebrated with much pie?!?

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 07:22:46

The other advantage to having Thanksgiving and Christmas, is you can spend one holiday with one family and one with the other. So none of those 'who are we going to spend Christmas with?' conversations.

KeatsiePie Thu 22-Nov-12 07:32:58

Exactly Tee. It is nice that if the families are not near each other, you can still spend a major holiday with each.

Happy Thanksgiving!

musicalendorphins Thu 22-Nov-12 07:35:14

Check out Diners Drive-ins and Dives on youtube, the host goes to greasy spoons that have great reputations and tries the food. It is artery hardening, sometimes unbelievably unhealthy and often mouth watering torture to watch. I like the seafood type places he visits, and the southern smoke barbeque places. I want to try smoked bbq from the south so badly <drool> And the food from new Orleans....sigh. I eat healthily at home, so I think we could do a few calorie laden foods for a "treat".
Dh and I want to map out some of our favorite places from the show and do it. It is becoming a popular vacation idea for people.

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 07:39:12

You'd be welcome Tante. I believe you have my address. wink

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 07:45:21

It's a relief to hear that gravy flows generously at your Thanksgiving dinners!

AntsMarching Thu 22-Nov-12 07:48:36

What is so special about Boxing Day? We always got Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I much preferred being off work for the build up to Christmas rather than being off once it's done.

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 07:50:15

Like a river, Squoosh, never you fear! smile I was just consulting my dad on the phone earlier about the best way to make gravy. We have the conversation every year but I need reassurance!

His grandmother could and did make gravy out of was from the Depression. Her family would get a tiny bit of meat from somewhere and eat gravy from it for days.

TanteRose Thu 22-Nov-12 07:59:19

CY ooh I do, don't I grin

one day, I am going to do a road trip round North America - I have various friends in US/Canada...will let you know smile

(It will no doubt be sometimes in the next 20 years or so grin) (and I'll make sure its around Thanksgiving!)

musicalendorphins Thu 22-Nov-12 08:05:40

My ds's and their friends love Boxing Day, as the stores have huge sales. They go spend their Christmas money.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 22-Nov-12 08:52:53

YABU.... Eating turkey once a year is plenty.

Sneepy Thu 22-Nov-12 09:25:06

We did thanksgiving last weekend. The menu was turkey, cornbread and sausage stuffing, mash, GRAVY, cranberry sauce, brown sugar squash, green bean casserole (from scratch but similar to the traditional campbells one), bread rolls, pumpkin pie and apple pie. It was amazing. The Brits there couldn't get enough of the stuffing and green beans and there was no pie left at all.

I love cooking thanksgiving, it's like a dress rehearsal for christmas but do much less stressful! You just send all the non-cooking people out for a hike or similar and the cooks have lots of wine and get everything on the table! Then you eat until you can't get another bite in, then you get out The Pies.

I can't believe anybody would have a roast without gravy!! Although not sure what gravy you would have with ham. Surely some kind of sauce though?

dontmixthecolours Thu 22-Nov-12 09:37:25

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm off to the gym to sulk and have holiday envy!

missuswife Thu 22-Nov-12 11:30:52

I'm American but have lived in the UK for many years. I love love love Thanksgiving.

When you're a kid, you get the Thursday and Friday off school, which is obviously awesome--we did not get half-term holidays.

In my experience, Thanksgiving is celebrated with the whole extended family, and is potluck--I love the food and that everyone brings their special dish, and we all look forward to so-and-so's pie or whatever. It does mean having to drive to aunt-whoever's house but it's great seeing everyone together.

I did not grow up celebrating Christmas at home, being Jewish, but I did spend many lovely Christmas days with friends and their families. IME that day was for immediate family, so you wouldn't have to drive anywhere. Most families in my area had a massive cartoon ham with the bone in, usually honey-smoked or something. No mince pies but they do eat sprouts.

I love Christmas in the UK. Boxing day is a good recovery day and I love that everything is closed on Christmas. I think also because I never got to fully participate in it as a kid and over here it is impossible not to feel included in the festivities because it is such a huge deal.

I do really really miss that in the USA, Christmas season does not start until the day after THanksgiving. You can start your shopping any time but at least you don't have all the ads/music etc until November.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 11:39:01

Is it true that they don't have Christmas crackers in America? I can't imagine Christmas dinner without crackers, rubbish jokes and people nodding off after dinner still wearing their paper crown.

Inamechangedalright Thu 22-Nov-12 11:45:44

Thanksgiving- the celebration of the conquest and genocide of the real Americans?

Yeah, I'm really jealous we don't have that hmm

Adversecamber Thu 22-Nov-12 11:47:51

The actual amount of annual leave they get is pitiful though.

Pandemoniaa Thu 22-Nov-12 11:50:52

I'd never give up bonfire night. Not for any number of Thanksgivings.

But as others have said, Christmas is a rather different kettle of turkey in the US. It doesn't seem to start in October for starters. However, my American (soon to be) ddil says it is all over very much more quickly than here and certainly there aren't the slothful joys of Boxing Day.

Sneepy Thu 22-Nov-12 11:54:15

Wow inamedchangedalright was there not enough American bashing on this thread for you? Way to take it up a notch.

littlefishexpat Thu 22-Nov-12 11:56:23

As Americans in England we're having Thanksgiving this weekend with friends, a very international bunch so it won't be too traditional but for the love of all that is holy there will be GRAVY.

We do enjoy Guy Fawkes. The fireworks are great -- but now picture it with a proper BBQ, watermelon, cool drinks, no rain or mud . . . and you have the 4th of July!

missuswife Thu 22-Nov-12 12:01:59

Annual leave in the States is pitiful. I used to get 10 days per year plus bank holidays. And maternity leave--don't get me started.

But, playing Trivial Pursuit after dinner on Thanksgiving, with all the dads/uncles asleep on the sofa--worth it. Also you get the family day on Thursday and then you often get invited round to friends' on the weekend for another full on dinner, especially if you are a young person living in the big city and your family is your friends.

Yes, there is the issue of what happened to the native peoples of the continent. But we usually use Columbus Day to feel national guilt and hypocrisy, especially in the liberal areas where the name of that day has been changed to Indigenous People's Day etc. Thanksgiving is not a celebration of genocide, it is a day to be thankful for what we have and enjoy being with family. Many families choose to dispense with the pilgrims cr*p and teach their kids the true history of the country, or treat it as a pagan harvest festival.

missuswife Thu 22-Nov-12 12:04:50

Oh and yes, at my potluck on Saturday there will be gravy--rivers of it. littlefishexpat -- I hear you on the non-traditional front. I have been doing a potluck for years and am usually the only American. I don't care what people bring as long as they bring something. One year someone brought a prawn curry!

Feminine Thu 22-Nov-12 12:05:25

I lived in America for 7 yrs, and I had many Christmas days and Thanksgiving celebrations before moving there.

Its better here smile

I miss America dreadfully sometimes but I always felt sad Christmas seemed to have no soul and was over in a second!

All the Christmas trees (where I lived) were chucked out for the trash by the 26th confused

We always has gravy...even though it was from a Heinz jar! Thanks MIL wink

Oh and served on hefty plastic plates...

Ullena Thu 22-Nov-12 12:09:23

Well, given that almost every time I speak to a stranger they ask what part of America I am from, DH and I are having Thanksgiving today! Even though neither of us is American. Or Canadian. Or Welsh...yeah, they're just assigning random countries now, aren't they?
We are having roast potatoes, gravy, yam and pear colcannon with wensleydale cheese, and sliced roast turkey leg (thank you Iceland, for cheap turkey in a roll grin).

Pandemoniaa Thu 22-Nov-12 12:14:44

We do enjoy Guy Fawkes. The fireworks are great -- but now picture it with a proper BBQ, watermelon, cool drinks, no rain or mud . . . and you have the 4th of July!

But you can't have Bonfire Night without the cold, dark, mud and sausages! Although I look forwards to enjoying 4th July in the US now I am gaining an American family.

fatlazymummy Thu 22-Nov-12 12:18:05

I'm not jealous at all. 2 big meals to cook - my idea of hell.
[No offence intended to any Americans].

LimburgseVlaai Thu 22-Nov-12 12:19:12

I have just read this article online.

Americans put marshmallows in potato casserole !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I mean... but but but... No. Words fail.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 12:19:22

The 4th of July looks like loads of fun. Fairgrounds, firecrackers, warm weather, hot men . . . . . . . . completely alien concept to me, but sounds great!

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 12:20:03

I've heard of the marshamallow thing before, I thought it was an urban myth but apparently not! It's a Real Thing.

MissCellania Thu 22-Nov-12 12:24:06

sweet potato casserole, bit different to white potato!

Molepomandmistletoe Thu 22-Nov-12 12:24:18

What? Why?

Molepomandmistletoe Thu 22-Nov-12 12:24:57

Sorry, that was about the marshmallows and potato thing.


Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 12:26:09

Oi oi oi did someone mention candied yams? envy

I have been insane lately with cravings for food I didn't know I even liked at the time, even really quite disgusting things like canned tamales. Or johnny cakes from a packet mix. Ranch dressing. Succotash. Baked beans with slabs of pork fat in them blush. Kraft dinners, hamburger helper, corn dogs, cheese dogs. Why are my American genes asserting themselves in such an unhelpful way?

My daughter announced this morning that she is bringing an entire thanksgiving meal to my house tonight but not including any of the above.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 12:26:47

An American I know said the marshmallow veggie thing is a more, ummm, rural American tradition. I think they must have a very sweet tooth as a nation.

Molepomandmistletoe Thu 22-Nov-12 12:28:25

Alameda, dont let her in..that's just an insult.

I've always wanted to try corn dogs.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 12:29:35

Is a corn dog the same as a batter sausage except on a stick?

Molepomandmistletoe Thu 22-Nov-12 12:29:54

and they say us Brits have a sweet tooth squoosh...

Anyone found putting marshmallows in potato casserole should be strung up.

Molepomandmistletoe Thu 22-Nov-12 12:30:35

I think the batter is fluffier though...that's what I've taken it as anyway.

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 12:32:10

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm half Yank and we are doing Thanksgiving this weekend. Second time I have done it.

Can I pass my menu round so you can let me know if it is authentic enough

Capon ( I know, I know)
Sweet potato crumble
Corn bread (Silver Palate recipie)
Green bean and onion casserole (Martha Stewart recipe)
Cranberry sauce (Mum bringing)
Gravy (Jamie Os make ahead)

Pecan pie
Ice cream

Lots of american wine, beer and grape juice and cranberry juice for the drivers.

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 12:32:19

but in a really sweet batter, yes, but like a cake batter

they are disgusting and I never liked them really, see also: Creamed corn, creamed beef, mrs butterworths, squeaky beans, real refried beans, tostadas, oh god I'm so hungry and nostalgic. Why!

I was born here so I'm not homesick.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 12:32:37

Marshmallows on sweet potatoes is another thing I associate with the South. There are a lot of regional variations on the side dishes grin though of course sometimes they get imported by family when they move. My mum is particularly fond of a corn casserole thing which I admit is lovely but I'd not go out of my way to make, myself. I do, however, always have to have candied yams. I don't do the marshmallows but they do involve pecans, orange juice, a bit of brown sugar and maple syrup.

I also make cornbread stuffing. Which is more Southern than the stuffing with sage and sausage my mum makes, but I like it and I find it easier than hers.

As for our Christmas and/or Thanksgiving being joyless... I think all I can say there is perhaps it's down to the family you celebrated with? Or it could just be that it's also a very personal thing, our mental image of what holidays should be like. We like what we grew up with. (hence horrible things like the aforementioned green bean casserole popping up every year- it's still made because grandma liked it or whatever and she might be gone but by god we need green bean casserole...) (omg I might have found the US equivalent of your obsession with having brussels sprouts but no one actually wanting to eat them!)

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 12:33:20

My v middle class family in New England have marshmallows on their sweet potato crumble. It's foul.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 12:34:01

oh unfortunate xpost- ethel I'm in no way saying your green bean casserole is the same as the one I've quoted from earlier. grin I was referring to the standard one with a tin of soup and some French's onions on top- I suspect Martha's version will be quite naice.

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 12:34:53

Hello ethelb, let's start a half yank support group? Although my maternal grandfather and my dad were both American, then I married one so didn't help myself much.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 12:35:10

ooh I'm surprised, I was the only one in the family (mum's side being v middle class New England as well) who wanted the yams with marshmallows. I'd only seen it down in Virginia, and when I lived in TX.

I like them but most don't, so I just leave them off..

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 12:36:25

A corn dog is cornbread batter on the hot dog, on a stick. Lush with mustard. I thought battered sausage was just the same batter as they do the fish in?

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 12:37:17

@greeneggs it looks like a small amount of bechemal, some crispy onions/shallots and can be done on the slow cooker. Is that about right?

it is an experiment blush

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 12:38:47

@alameda when are you doing your thanksgiving?

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 12:40:05

slight aside but: any dual uk/us citizens here with long lapsed US passport ever gone back to the states using an EU passport and visa?

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 12:43:01

tonight Ethel, I didn't know we were, my eldest daughter decided this morning

I don't know what she is making, with a bit of effort we could get to the commissary at a nearby base and fulfill all my cravings but I don't need the calories!

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 12:43:03

ethel yep sounds about right. smile The original was a thing that was (is still?) printed in every Good Housekeeping-type magazine every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was flogging both tinned soup (Campbells cream of something.. mushroom?) and tinned crispy onions (French's). It became a standard dish in the 60s, I think. I am sure a version made from scratch would be nice. It's tough to go wrong with a Martha recipe! I'll be making her hot spinach dip later on today..

kickassangel Thu 22-Nov-12 12:47:51

The marshmallows on sweet potatoes was originally southern. They are also more likely to deep fry the turkey. You can get deep fat fryers big enough to put an entire turkey in!

I really like the way that almost every month has some kind of celebration. Not all if them get a day off, but ther are fun activities for the kids and Halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas help to get you through the darkening days. Then you have valentines, st paddies, Easter (but that is very low key, no days off), mother's day, memorial day, before you know it, it's the summer again and you have 3 months of sitting by the lake, swimming, enjoying the sun etc.

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for having food in the table and family by your side. Columbus day is now being phased out. The town I live in has the day off school but call it fall colors day. The next town over doesn't even have the day off and doesn't acknowledge it at all. Lots of schools use it to teach about Indian Americans. (we had staff training on this, and the guy rightly pointed out that native American means anyone who was born in the US so the phrase is being changed)

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 12:47:59

Oh is that good?

I saw that too. Do you serve it before the meal as a chips and dip type thing? What do you put in it?

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 12:49:28

hot spinach dip i mean

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 12:54:32

fuck this, sitting here, drooling nostalgically

I am going to candy some yams myself!

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 12:57:32

Really fun to read about everyone's menus. I love Thanksgiving - better than Christmas IMO because my family isn't big on presents so a holiday all about food is perfect! Our Thanksgiving traditional things are 90% out of the Silver Palate Good Times cookbook, with some added Eastern European extras (blini, smoked salmon and caviar).

Tonight I will prep
apple pie (silver palate)
maple-pumpkin tart (martha)
apricot-cointreau stuffing (silver palate)
mashed potatoes with cream cheese, sour cream and chives (silver palate)
fresh cranberry orange sauce (martha)

Tomorrow roast the turkey, sprouts, make gravy, make a mushroom leek galette, make a green salad, and juggle everything in the oven and stove top to get it all ready to serve at the same time. Iron clad timings necessary.

Unfortunately Ocado have run out of fresh turkeys so my mother is paying through the nose for one at a super fancy butcher in Holland Park. I dread to think how much it will cost...and DS has a D&V bug, just for an added extra frisson of excitement!

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 13:04:44

ethel I'll be slicing a baguette into discs (if that makes sense- not slicing it lengthwise) and toasting them a little. I'll put the dip out with a spreading knife. Though, it's just me, DH and DS, so I won't be laying it out too fancy. grin Honestly, it's amazing, you should try it. It's always popular at parties. (You can also find recipes for spinach and artichoke dip, that's very similar to the Martha recipe and also very good. I just couldn't find artichokes..)

You could also serve it with crackers. It just needs something substantial to spread on, so no crisps etc.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 13:06:56

kickass not trying to be funny, but are Indian Americans not Americans with family from India? I think that's why the whole 'native' American thing came about, to differentiate. Or did that not come up in the discussion? (Honestly just asking, it's interesting how terms come and go every decade or so!)

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:43:54

In California and elsewhere, Columbus Day is now Indigenous People's day.

Thanksgiving is not about the Indigenous People. Not really. Well, the settlers where, hey, thanking them! Come, have a feast, we survived! Thanks for helping us do that!

My husband, that Northern Irish native, lived in Indiana for one year as a boy with his family. To this day he insists he was the best Miles Standish ever in any Thanksgiving play.


Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:44:18

Oh, and being from New England? I've never put marshmallow on a yam.


squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 13:49:56

Tee I want to go to New England, I have an idea in my head that all people eat there is lobster rolls and other shellfish yumminess. Is this true? Tell me this is true. grin

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:54:02

Okay. It's true. I'm lying, sorry.

Although you can go to Maine and buy a lobster straight from the boats for about $2. That's true.

Alameda Thu 22-Nov-12 13:54:59

I've had them baked with marshmallows before but that is a bit much, mine are just going in a saucepan with butter and sugar. Mmmmmm.

MamaMary Thu 22-Nov-12 13:55:35

Americans, do you have to go back to work on the Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, or do you get it off like an unofficial Boxing Day?

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 13:56:19

$2 for a lobster. I can't even imagine!

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:58:20

Well, they may not be $2 any more, it's been about 20 years since I was in Maine, but probably not more than a fiver.

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 14:02:44

squoosh it is true. We spend every summer in NH and basically subsist on a diet of fried and steamed clams, shrimp, scallops and whole steamed lobsters. And ice cream. It's glorious.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 14:06:20

Thank you Xiaoxiong, I would love to accept your kind invitation to spend next summer in New Hampshire with you and your family. wink

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 14:06:21

mmm lobster rolls...

Mama depends on the sort of job you have. If you have a naice office job at a large company, you're likely to have Friday off. If it's not given, many people will take it off if they have the leave to do so.

My last job in the US didn't give us the Friday off. It was a small practice owned by someone with no immediate family who thought we were lucky to get Thanksgiving day off in the first place. biscuit

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 14:10:15

envy Xiaoxiong. I miss New England food. My dream holiday is to land in NY, eat from one side of the city to the other then spend a day or two sitting on the beach in Maine eating nothing but fresh fish from the boats.

I'd gain 10 pounds but it would be so worth it!

MamaMary Thu 22-Nov-12 14:32:26

It all sounds lovely - I'd love to be invited to a proper Thanksgiving meal. Not likely as no American relatives or friends, but you never know - perhaps someday. It wouldn't be the same if I tried it myself. grin

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 14:44:28

mama where are you in the country? We are having ours tomorrow and always try and have a new person along every year. Over the years we have made some lovely new friends this way. (Also defuses potential family tensions...!)

JessieMcJessie Thu 22-Nov-12 14:46:28

Kickassangel, another question here about the "Indian Americans" training you had- definitely Indian and not Indigenous? So what do you call somebody like Deepak Chopra? "South Asian Americans?"

I find it interesting that in the UK "Asian" is used for ( and by) people from the Indian subcontinent whereas In the US "Asian" by default means Chinese/ Korean/Vietnamese etc etc. suppose it's because the UK had far more Indian than South East Asian immigrants and the US vice-versa.

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 14:47:53

squoosh yes please do - you can and Tee can rent this camp and we can have a huge clambake grin

berri Thu 22-Nov-12 14:48:30

We are living in USA for a few years and going to a Thanksgiving dinner today - we are taking half the food though so hope it goes well!

We're having:

Roast Turkey
Baked ham with marmalade glaze
Roast potatoes (yes I know it's supposed to be mashed but....)
Homemade stuffing
Brussel sprouts with pecans and cranberries
Roast carrots with rosemary

Pecan pie & ice-cream for dessert

Loads of booze for everyone else (am pg)

Can't wait!

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 14:53:24

Good on you berri, waving the flag for roast potatoes!

How can anyone prefer mash to roasties in the context of a roast dinner?

berri Thu 22-Nov-12 15:08:23

I know I know!

And imagine mashing potatoes for 12 people....

Forgot to add gravy to the meal above - goes without saying obviously, and homemade cranberry sauce too. <drool>

barapapa Thu 22-Nov-12 15:17:15

we always have roasted and mashed.... and always have gravy.... (have never ever heard of anyone not having gravy)

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 15:22:00

squoosh when (a) you have no room in the oven (because of mahoosive turkey, pies, casseroles etc) and (b) when your family recipe for thanksgiving mashed potatoes to feed 8 is as follows:
9 large potatoes, steamed and mashed with:
120g butter
300g cream cheese
200ml sour cream
small bunch chives or salad onions, finely sliced
ground nutmeg


Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 15:23:05

I don't like roast potatoes, I tolerate them. I love mash.


squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 15:23:43

Butter, cream cheese and sour cream? That must stick to your arteries ribs! Does sound delicious though.

barapapa Thu 22-Nov-12 15:27:03

anyone find any nice dinner rolls here in UK? like parker house rolls?

izzyizin Thu 22-Nov-12 15:27:19

I've been cooking up a storm all week in preparation for my Thanksgiving dinner. Every year it gets larger; starts with half a dozen 7 for 7.30pm and grows like Topsy - this evening there'll be 16-20 hungry mouths to feed.

The only food that'll be deep fried will be shrimp appetisers served with bloody marys to kickstart the festivities welcome the guests. A good pumpkin pie is a revelation - think a smooth custard-type tart shot through with cinnamon/nutmeg/brown sugar flavours, but tonight's menu features the giant orange gourd as soup.

The turkey will be served with peppery/buttery/creamy mashed potatoes, roast Lincolnshire potatoes and roasted glazed sweet potatoes, greens collard style (nary a bean in sight), traditional cornbread stuffing plus a sausage meat & bacon (cheers Oscar Meyer) number, gallons of nourishing and nutritious gravy, and the obligatory fresh cranberry sauce.

There's a meltingly moist maple glazed gammon and a veggie nut roast with tomato/basil sauce for those who don't eat poultry.

Desserts are pecan, Mississippi mud, and key lime pies with scoops of Movenpick vanilla ice cream - which has to be the best ice cream outside of Vermont.

Apart from the ice cream it's all home made and the scent of the feast, together with the leftovers, will last through the weekend. A good time will be had by all but I wish I was home with my folks being waited on hand and foot Maybe next year....

Heavywheezing Thu 22-Nov-12 15:33:00

Happy thankgiving everybody!

I have no American connections but every year we celebrate thanksgiving because my son was born on July 4th

We are having sweet potatoes with marshmallows, parsnips with maple syrup, bread sauce, turkey, roast pots.

My dad has just cancelled on us given the weather so we have more food than we can eat but it's lovely every year.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 15:42:20

I love roasties. Would take them anyday over mash. My mum wasn't big on mashing potatoes though; we never had them at Thanksgiving (as far as I can remember, anyway!)

Happy Thanksgiving, wheezing smile

MissCellania Thu 22-Nov-12 15:43:04

Ok, I'm going to make a pumpkin pie, you've inspired me. Can anyone tell me if I have to roast the pumpkin or do I boil it? Googling recipes all tell me to use a tin, which I don't have!

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 15:46:11

Don't do it MissCellania!

EIizaDay Thu 22-Nov-12 15:46:36

<<Ahem OP>> Halloween is Scottish, not American. Can't blame them for that too.

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 15:50:01

Miss I'd be afraid to do it without using tinned <wibble>

MissCellania Thu 22-Nov-12 15:50:39

I'm going to have to make it up as I go along aren't I? grin

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 15:50:56

Ummmm, not just Scottish.

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 15:51:53

I would cut the pumpkin open, take out the seeds, de-skin it, chunk it up and roast it.

Although I have never actually done this...

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 15:55:01

Yes tee and then you would have to puree it to the smoothness of a baby's bottom...

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 15:56:23

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

-Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 16:03:44

Lots of Americans do 'Irish' Christmas meals and have a turkey and a ham.

Also, it is viewed as a more Christian festival over there. People of other faiths resolutly don't celebrate it and they don't get much time off over xmas and new year.

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 16:04:22


izzyizin Thu 22-Nov-12 16:17:56

Half a kilo of fresh pumpkin flesh (i.e minus seeds & skin) will produce enough puree for an 8" pie - line a deep flan dish with shortcrust pastry, prick the base, cover loosely with baking paper and bake blind for 10 mins.

To cook the flesh, cut into chunks and microwave with a couple of spoons of water until soft; or steam or cook on hob with a little water, or put in a moderate oven until tender

Drain the cooked pumpkin thoroughly before using a hand blender or processor to turn it into a puree.

Beat in 3 eggs and add 125g light or dark muscovado sugar, half teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg or use ground mace or mixed spice - these are basic proportions and you may prefer to use more sugar, more spice, or use maple or golden syrup to replace all or some of the sugar.

Make a lattice pastry topping and glaze it with egg white and caster or brown sugar or top with pecan nuts or make up a streusel style topping - let your imagination be your guide!

Turn the mixture into the prepared pie dish and cook for 45 mins at 190c until set - ovens vary so check after 30 mins.

Serve warm with ice cream and enjoy!

izzyizin Thu 22-Nov-12 16:20:09

I ascribe to the view that fresh is best and I've never bought or used tinned pumpkin for pies or anything else, ethel.

MissCellania Thu 22-Nov-12 16:23:44

Thank you Izzy! Making pastry now, and pumpkin is cooking. Maybe it will be vile, but I'll give it a lash.

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 16:25:42

In case anyone was wondering whether we get sick of doing this twice a year, we don't - we go out for Chinese food on Christmas Day smile

LadyBeagle Thu 22-Nov-12 16:28:28

You know when you say that Thanksgiving isn't a religious holiday?
Who are you thanking then?
Not criticising BTW, it's a lovely premise, just interested.

DalekInAFestiveJumper Thu 22-Nov-12 16:28:55

Turkey's in the oven, here. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

I really do love this holiday. My family lives 1,300 miles away, which is a shame at this time of year. But wow, do people ever want to make sure nobody's left out on this day. The first year I lived here, even though I'd only been in the area a few weeks, my husband and I were invited to join half a dozen (or more!) different families on Thanksgiving.

This year I'm the one having nine people round for food, drinks, and watching the Lions lose. It's a little bittersweet as it's likely to be my last Thanksgiving in this state, but I can't tell anyone that yet. But I'm still grateful for the whole ridiculous mess.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 16:31:42

I think they're just being 'thankful' for whatever that may be, God, Ryan Gosling, nice food, family . . . .

EIizaDay Thu 22-Nov-12 16:33:11

Squoosh...okay wink but we just need to break it to them gently.

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 16:33:52

But 'pumpkins' in the supermarket in this country aren't 'pumpkins' like you get to eat in the US.

If you want to use fresh you should use bnut squash as that is far closer to the variety of squash you should be using.

Anything I have been given by people 'discovering' pumpkin pie in the uk has been watery inedible slop. My aunts in the US on the other hand make a pumpkin pie thta is a wonder to behold, and is basically a fantastic spiced custard tart. AND NOT LIQUIDY.

izzyizin Thu 22-Nov-12 16:35:43

Cooking pumpkin produces loads of water and the trick is to drain it thoroughly - squeeze or press it dry in a clean tea towel - before pureeing it MissC.

The eggs turn the puree into something resembling a bland custard which you can flavour to your taste. I sprinkle a layer of brown sugar over the pie before baking to give it a slight toffee crunch.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 16:36:23

Who came up with the idea of turning pumpkin into a pie?

Who was that sicko?

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 16:37:13

someone who realised that you don't use the things sold as 'pumpkins' in this country to make it squoosh.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Thu 22-Nov-12 16:37:34

kickassangel and those who were interested - Indian Americans are people who personally or descend from those who originate from India. I have never heard anyone try to say that Native Americans mean anything other those from Indigenous nations except for those outside of the nations who try to be confusing and rewrite history/dictionary to suit their needs.

People from the indigenous nations are sometimes called American Indians, NDNs (internet/text speak only obviously), Native Americans, First Nations (mostly Canadian but becoming more popular in the States), Indigenous Americans, or Aboriginal Americans, if referring to an individual or specific nation or an object from a particular group then it's best to refer to them by their nation rather than homogenise over 500 nations (like: Dreamcatchers are an item used by Ojibwe and Lakota people or The Lakota nations are currently trying to get back their sacred land Pe'Sla and have UN backing to have it returned but are being forced to raise millions of dollars to prevent it being sold off by the American government to private owners who wish to pave over it. or GrrrArghZzz is Metis and enjoys jokes about "You're Welcome" day and Thanks-taking day which are common across people from across many American Indigenous nations, particularly those that originate from the East Coast. Most revolve around how different the two groups say thanks but at least they make good food).

Schools use Thanksgiving to teach because November is Native American History Month. Sadly this is not done very well due to lack of will, resources (or resources being pulled as in Arizona), to the point most don't know which nations met the Puritans and Separatists (or that they were Puritans in Separatists that wanted to cleanse the C of E, not Pilgrims looking for religious freedom) or that the whole reason that the Haudenosaunee had someone who could speak English was that some of their people had been captured and taken to England years before. Or that the Haudenosaunee weren't invited to any feast, they heard gunshots, thought war was on the way after previous problems with the settlers and when they found a poor meal went out and brought venison and fowl to make it a proper feast. Pretty much all Thankgivings mythos used today in schools and TV were made around the time of Lincoln (who is the one who made it a national holiday, though he pretty much hated Native Americans particularly those of the Sioux nations).

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 16:38:10

LadyBeagle we always have a sort of cosmic thank you to the earth for feeding us and keeping us all alive. It's just a rather late harvest festival really.

izzyizin Thu 22-Nov-12 16:39:34

In the UK I've used Halloween pumpkins and butternut squash for pies with no obvious difference in flavour because they're a bland almost flavourless veg that can be used for sweet and savoury dishes.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Thu 22-Nov-12 16:42:04

Xiaoxiong - Chinese food on the Christmas day is awesome (particularly before or after going to the movies). It's one part of the holidays from the States I miss to the point I try to recreate it in my house.

Xiaoxiong Thu 22-Nov-12 16:43:42

Grrr we always watch the Addams Family Values thanksgiving pageant as part of our Thanksgiving dinner.

"We cannot break bread with you. You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, you will play golf, and enjoy hot hors d'oeuvres. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said, "Do not trust the Pilgrims." And for all these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground."

Always gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.

If anyone is ever in Washington DC the Museum of the American Indian is probably the best museum I've ever been to, anywhere in the world. Great food as well and a fabulous bookshop.

best pumpkin pie recipe

I use this recipe and if I may say so myself,my pumpkin pie is awesome grin

Ive used butternut squash instead of pumpkin too,it has a smoother texture when done but taste wise you cant tell the difference

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 16:46:25

I don't like pecan pie either. Is that an offensive thing to say?

I've decided that I like savoury American food but am not so keen on the sweet stuff.

ethelb Thu 22-Nov-12 16:46:58

Its the texture. neither of them taste anything.

"Pumpkin" is v stringy and watery.

izzyizin Thu 22-Nov-12 17:35:04

If it's drained properly pumpkin isn't watery, ethel, and if it's blended it isn't stringy - it's smooth like mashed potato.

Pecan pie as made by UK manufacturers cannot be compared to the real deal which has to be made with corn syrup and I've never quite understood why this commodity is not readily available in the UK.

To my mind, Amercian home bakes are as good if not better than many of their UK/European counterparts - I've got handed down recipes for coffee cakes that rival anything produced by Viennese pastry chefs.

SantyClaws Thu 22-Nov-12 17:36:44

but pumpkin pie should be neither stringy nor watery - like izzy said it should be like a dense custart consistancy with lots of nutmeg/cinnamon/spice added.

its lovely - i think i shall pop to izzy's later grin she won't notice another one...

re the 'indian' question. In Canada our 'native indians' are referred to as First Nations, or Aboriginals.

And people from India are called East Indians.

squoosh Thu 22-Nov-12 17:40:04

The pecan pie I tried was actually in NY, it was just a bit too sweet for me. I think puddings is where the UK excels in terms of its contribution to global cooking.

Spalva Thu 22-Nov-12 17:45:36

I haven't actually lived in the States since I was 19 years old -- over twenty years, I can't remember anymore exactly :-)

The people who do it well gather at someone's house and have a lovely feast of farm-fresh goodies (including a farm-grown turkey). They talk and listen to music while the cousins and/or friends run around outside in the forest/countryside. There's an air of warmth, gratitude and love. A sense that this is a tradition that has been handed down generation to generation. There is a real sense of connection to the earth, to the previous generations, etc.

The people who do it poorly eat crap food in front of the television (yes, the whole meal), each talking over the other. Many watch the day's football game. I know, I gathered with a group of expats last year and it was just awful. Horrible.

But then, we don't own a television. Not sure if that's because we're half-French? ;-) I dunno. I know plenty in the States who don't own one.

In the States, then, you have Black Friday or whatever, the biggest shopping day of the year. Yuck.

But, having lived all over the world, I honestly can't say that all this isn't specific to Americans only. And having just arrived in the UK, I can't really say that there aren't plenty of people here who would do the telly Thanksgiving -- adding cigarettes to the mix. (sorry! but it seems true to me at the moment)

I'm with my girls today, dh is in Amsterdam and, of course, my family's in the States. I made pumpkin pie and pecan pie and none of the other dishes. We will set the table with candles and a warm-feeling tablecloth. We already talked about our gratitude at tea time but we will repeat the exercise over pie and read a a story called The Country Mouse's Thanksgiving.

Spalva Thu 22-Nov-12 17:46:37

Oh, and I halve the sugar in all American sweets recipes -- sometimes use even one third.

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 17:51:03

This criticizing of marshmallows on sweet potatoes is a bit rich coming from people who eat beans on toast. wink Seriously, you have no idea how odd that sounds to most Americans!

I don't do marshmallows on my sweet potatoes, never have, but my mom does do some with brown sugar, pecans, etc that's pretty good.

Most people don't do the pilgrims/Native Americans (who are very different from Indian Americans!) connection to Thanksgiving anymore. We are religious so there is an element of that, but people who aren't just spend it as a time to be thankful for all they have, and spend time with family.

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 17:52:22

Oh and almost no one goes back to work on Friday. Schools are closed, etc. A lot of people go Black Friday shopping but I refuse.

monsterchild Thu 22-Nov-12 17:58:54

Squoosh, you're right that pecan pie is too sweet. that's why I make it with molasses and cranberries! mmm. Gong to store now to get ingredients. I am alone today as DH is working, but we will make delicious dinner tomorrow or saturday. Dh is vegan, so no turkey for us!

Also, marshmallows in sweet potato casserole is an abomination. I do lots of brown sugar and pecans. but I have a savory tooth.

monsterchild Thu 22-Nov-12 17:59:37

Oh, and OP YANBU. if nothing else it keeps the Christmas capitalism at bay for a tiny while.

LadyBeagle Thu 22-Nov-12 18:49:17

Wow Spalva, a bit judgemental there, aren't you?
If people are happy to eat crap food in front of the telly surely that's their choice of celebration?
Sounds good to me grin.

MissCellania Thu 22-Nov-12 18:50:39

Well, I made it, and its really really good. I didn't use as much sugar as the recipe said, as I was tasting the puree as I mixed and it would have been too much. But its really good, like a spicy set custard tart.

katykuns Thu 22-Nov-12 18:55:43

Ohh this thread is making me consider doing my own Thanksgiving on Sunday... but just looked online and no fresh turkeys yet :S

KitchenandJumble Thu 22-Nov-12 19:03:50

Pumpkin pie when made properly would never, ever be stringy or watery. Perish the very thought! I think that US pumpkins are not the same as UK pumpkins. A well-made pumpkin pie is the food of the gods. Don't knock it till you've tried it. smile

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Thu 22-Nov-12 19:15:04

Being thankful for what we have followed by people getting trampled to buy more stuff ;) This year Walmart employees are picketting on the Black Friday due to their horrendous work conditions, I wonder if that will affect things.

While the media and settler side talk about the history less, those on the other side of the table remember those who can't here.

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 19:48:50

"The people who do it well gather at someone's house and have a lovely feast of farm-fresh goodies (including a farm-grown turkey). They talk and listen to music while the cousins and/or friends run around outside in the forest/countryside. There's an air of warmth, gratitude and love. A sense that this is a tradition that has been handed down generation to generation. There is a real sense of connection to the earth, to the previous generations, etc."

I guess my Boston dwelling family did it badly then, you know without our own turkey to slaughter and such. I guess all those great memories I have of my Aunt's kitchen on Thanksgiving Day are just wrong. Obviously if you don't live on a farm, you eat Thanksgiving in front of the TV whilst smoking roll ups and drinking lager from a can...

You, my dear, are like a woman I know. She's a pretentious twat.

Strix Thu 22-Nov-12 20:05:41

Have eaten my turkey and pumpkin pie. Mmmmmmmm good. Love it.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 20:12:20

I loved getting together with my mum's family as a child. No hand-raised turkeys, but it was the countryside (in Rhode Island), a large old house, and probably pretty stereotypical. We'd then spend the next day freezing our butts off out at a tree farm looking for one to set up for my grandparents before heading home to DC.

I also loved the adult incarnations of Thanksgiving, where my friends and I would do potluck because we didn't have the annual leave, or didn't have the money to get back to far-flung family for the day.

It's actually what I quite like about Thanksgiving- there's always room for more people! Christmas feels very family-orientated, whereas Thanksgiving is very inclusive. There's an unwritten law that you must extend an invite to someone once you know they've no plans for Thanksgiving. fact. smile

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 20:14:28

And for the food record: we had the hot spinach dip with toasted baguette slices for supper this evening, and then pumpkin pie. I'm not doing the turkey etc until Saturday.

I'm quite full actually. smile

DevlinMaccabee Thu 22-Nov-12 20:58:58

God I'm starving reading this thread!

DalekInAFestiveJumper Thu 22-Nov-12 21:02:04

Hah! And how, GreenEggsAndNichts. I've got nine guests, not one of which is related to me. My family's halfway across the country. Thanksgiving is very much a 'no man left behind' holiday.

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Thu 22-Nov-12 21:02:33

I love boxing day!!!

I don't get dressed on boxing day and no doubt will be thrashing DS at one of the wii games I've bought him grin

VanCampsPorknBeans Thu 22-Nov-12 21:10:31

In the States, Thanksgiving meals and traditions can vary from region to region and from family to family. The only thing consistent feature across the country is turkey. In fact, many Hispanic Americans call Thanksgiving Day (in Spanish) The Day of the Turkey!

I agree with the poster who said that Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season. After Thanksgiving, it's one Christmas party after another for the next 4 weeks. Families who do the Kris-Kringle or Secret Santa gift exchange for Christmas usually pick names at the Thanksgiving Day celebration - so it's handy for that too. If no Secret Santa, it's also just a good time to find out what type of gift loved-ones might want for Christmas.

Being from NOLA, we do our own creole/cajun version of the Thanksgiving Day meal - which people in other parts of the country might find sacrilegious: Fried Turkey, Root-Beer Glazed ham, Collard Greens, Baked Macaroni, Corn Bisque, Gumbo, Stuffed Merliton, Oyster and Crabmeat Dressing, Sweet (like-cake) Cornbread, Dinner Rolls, Sweet Potato Pie, Pecan Pie, Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce and spiked Eggnog. Gravy is not a big element - as the mush of the macaroni, dressing, and greens is more than enough! At the end of the meal, there is always enough food for each family unit to take home a pile for leftovers. Nothing better than Thanksgiving Day leftovers.

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 21:46:45

Yup, my SILS and BILS and I on DH's side always pick our secret Santa names on Thanksgiving! smile

Mmm...spinach dip! I'm not making it for Thanksgiving but I do for lots of gatherings...I have a recipe called "melted salad" that's to die for.

TheCatInTheHairnet Thu 22-Nov-12 21:52:50

Turkey's in the oven. Peeled potatoes ready for roasting (I may live here in the US but Bleeeuurgh to mash!!).

I love Thanksgiving! We may be just be expats now, but I've fully embraced it as a tradition as in a few years, we will be Americans. My children are most likely to marry Americans and I want them to sometimes come home here for the holidays too. Plus, you can't knock a holiday that's sole purpose is to be thankful for what you've got!

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 21:55:49

I love mash...I slow cook mine in the crockpot with chicken broth and garlic. It's amazing! I do love roast potatoes as well but Thanksgiving just calls for mash!

NetworkGuy Thu 22-Nov-12 22:05:29

Good to see this thread. Reminded me of a visit I made back in 1995 to see a friend (made via the internet) and having a Thanksgiving meal with him and his family in Beverly Hills (he was a film producer... just spoke to him on the phone, and there will be 14 at the table today, so it was a brief call).

Hope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving has a great time.

TheCatInTheHairnet Thu 22-Nov-12 22:13:23

Cheerful Yank, recipe please! My Ds loves mash. I should try that one!

NG, I know, I can't move for film producers round my table tonight!! grin

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Nov-12 22:19:02

It's this recipe, Cat. smile I adjust the seasonings sometimes, but I am a salt fiend.

EmilyAgain Thu 22-Nov-12 23:26:44

We Americans certainly do not eat Thanksgiving turkey "dry". Of course we have gravy! We also do not eat only mashed potatoes: we do sometimes have roast potatoes, and we also have sweet potatoes, which can be roasted or baked (my family never "candied" them, but this is a cultural and regional issue: Thanksgiving dishes vary according to region).

Also, no, it is not true that "most" Americans eat beef or ham on Christmas. Plenty of people have turkey or goose. My family's Christmas included various types of seafood because the countries from which my great-grandparents came ate those things.

Remember, every American (except Native Americans) family is from somewhere else: our families came from other countries, and many American families retain some of the holiday traditions of the countries from which previous generations of their families came. Some American families serve traditional Anglo Christmas foods, but someone whose great grandparents came from Russia or Mexico or Italy is very likely to have some slightly different customs or twist to the Christmas dinner.

LeftyLucy Thu 22-Nov-12 23:38:26

I am full of Turkey (yes, with gravy) and Pumpkin pie.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. smile

missingmumxox Thu 22-Nov-12 23:57:21

Happy Thanksgiving, I remember my first in the US total fail, I basically did a chrimbo dinner and e-mailed my American friends about "pumpkin pie" was it served with or after the main? after it, it is not like cranberry sauce, bread sauce, Yorkshire pudding, it is def a pudding...tastes foul! I made from scratch and whilst not a great cook I am okay...never again!
I hated the whole smell and feeling of christmas without christmas, and the post fuzz day of black Friday leaves me cold, Boxing day rocks, time to relax. not a consumer frenzy although I do know the sales in the UK now start then, but it isn't the same pressure.
my 2 thumbs up to Thanks Giving are that Christmas doesn't start til Black Friday, unlike the last month of pressure in the UK on it.
on the down side American Christmas is also Shit, I remember 1 when we lived there in our "little Britain" and a neighbour appeared at 4pm, after bring her kids back from the cinema and shopping, could not get rid of her and eventually invited her for dinner because it was clear she wasn't leaving another shit christmas! some Americans don't get the British passive aggressive smile to be fair most Americans get it and sarcasm they just don't expect it every minute of every day.

kickassangel Fri 23-Nov-12 01:42:56

Omg. Went to friends for dinner. Her mum is a total unable to acknowledge that her baby is grown type so took over most of the cooking including bringing 7 desserts.

CaliforniaLeaving Fri 23-Nov-12 06:08:28

We went to my SIL's she had cooked a lot! I totally over ate, Turkey all the trimmings, cheesecake and more. Theres half a pumpkin pie and lots of fresh cream still in my fridge and SIL sent me home with enough left overs to feed us dinner again Friday night, so we'll repeat the meal all over again. I love leftovers.

Vagndidit Fri 23-Nov-12 08:07:09

Leftovers are the very best thing about Thanksgiving, which is why I always happily offer to cook and host a huge turkey dinner (even if we're the only Americans we know in town) The leftovers are all MINE, MINE, MINE!! Nothing better than a turkey sandwich, complete with cranberry and stuffing on the day(s) after.

And there's nothing better than a slice of hot pecan pie with a scoop of melty vanilla ice cream on the side...

Am drooling in anticipation of our Thanksgiving "observed" party tomorrow night!

lljkk Fri 23-Nov-12 08:09:52

Americans love their leftovers, true. I find the British aversion to them quite odd. maybe you all didn't cook them properly to begin with? <<Cackle>>

musicalendorphins Fri 23-Nov-12 08:52:16

Yes to turkey leftovers. I love turkey pot pie, and a toasted turkey sandwich, with sage stuffing and cranberry sauce, mayonnaise and lots of pepper.
Yank, maybe I'll to make those crock pot potatoes to take to ds & his gf's on Christmas day, but with vegetable broth. I was musing over what to bring. I will have to have a pow wow with her mom and her. I think her mom is bringing the bird. I am bringing the afore mentioned sweet potato casserole, and maybe a ham.

musicalendorphins Fri 23-Nov-12 08:53:27

Excuse typo's and poor editing please.

Molepomandmistletoe Fri 23-Nov-12 12:50:04

Leftovers? I Love them. Bubble and squeak anyone?

izzyizin Fri 23-Nov-12 14:03:01

A few bodies got put out with the empties this morning - were you one of them, SantyClaws? We achieved something of a record last night. 31 celebrants attended and duly gave thanks for the copious quantities of alcohol groaning tables of delectable harvest fare.

Unfortunately it's a case of 'who ate all the pies' as there are very few slices left sad but on the turkey/gammon stakes it's going to be turkey club sandwiches and gammon with eggs/french fries for the weekend - the resident moggy is thoroughly enjoying his little furry Christmas come early.

Glad your pumpkin pie worked out for you, MissC. Uncarved pumpkin's not a scary vegetable and it's surprising that it's taken so long for it to come into more common usage in the UK. If I'm making carrot & coriander soup I add often add pumpkin or squash - as yet, no-one has noticed or commented on the 'secret ingredient'.

Time for me to close the kitchen - I've been running brunch since 10am and the waffle machine is smokin'. All I'm going to want for supper tonight is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich grin

CaliforniaLeaving Fri 23-Nov-12 17:36:20

The leftovers are all MINE, MINE, MINE!! Nothing better than a turkey sandwich, complete with cranberry and stuffing on the day(s) after.

That reminds me of the friends episode when Ross went ballistic when someone ate his leftover thanksgiving sandwich grin

leftovers are hotly fought over in this house. Holiday leftovers even more so!

kickassangel Sat 24-Nov-12 00:37:05

we didn't get any sad
even though there were SEVEN pies/desserts there. They all got packed up and put in my friend's fridge. How are 2 people going to get through that lot? There was more than half of each thing left. That's almost 4 entire pies (full size) for them to scoff.

I am SO hosting next year.

We had another wonderful Thanks Giving. I am not American, but since we moved here our family have always spent it at another families' home. We are made to feel like we belong there and they are lovely, their home is a beautiful palace (compared to ours) and they have hired caterers the last two years. We all bring a dish too so there is a heap of food - this year there was:- home made bread rolls with lemon and poppyseed butter, green beans with bacon bits, courgettes in butter, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, mashed potatoes, macaroni cheese (homemade), a huge spiral ham, a huge turkey, sausages wrapped in bacon and bread sauce (my offerings), cranberry sauce both tinned and homemade, gravy, an autumn vegetable casserole then or dessert a gooey pumpkin-buttercake, apple cake, chocolate cake, cookies, whipped cream and ice cream. Really delicious and not the same as Christmas dinner despite the similar ingredients.

It is so much more relaxed than Christmas as there is a real sense of getting together for the sake of it, rather than for the obligatory gifting etc. The kids have no expectations of presents so are having fun without all the anticipation and arguing over toys, there isn't mountains of wrapping eveywhere and toys to be assembled.

I have grown used to it over the 7 years we have lived here and would probably carry it on when we return home as it is just a lovely friendly occasion.

80sMum Sat 24-Nov-12 01:07:41

I remember being very surprised the first Christmas we spent in the US to see all the Christmas trees being put out with the trash on boxing day morning! Everyone went back to work; it was quite an anti-climax. And also the TV schedules were just like any other day; nothing to distinguish Christmas Day from any other.
DH had 10 days paid holiday per year. That was about the norm, I think.

CheerfulYank Sat 24-Nov-12 03:05:12

I don't take my Christmas tree down til after New Year's. smile

Ugh...just got back from celebrating Thanksgiving...soooooo full. But I can't stop eating the pumpkin crunch cake. It's just so buttery. I may actually die.

kickassangel Sat 24-Nov-12 04:57:56

I know a lot of people who keep decorations up for a while, but that is partly cos it's just way too cold to take down the exterior lights, so you may as well keep the rest up.

One year dh stole the outdoor switch so the lights couldn't be turned on as he was embarrassed that we still had them going.

ItsNotUnusualToBe Sat 24-Nov-12 08:05:06

We're not American and have no connection to America apart from an Anerican football mad husband and we got married in NYC. However, Nigella's Feast made Thanksgiving sound so appealing (food,football, family and being thankful - what's to not like!???) that we gave a go five years ago and now it's a family tradition.

My birthday, and now my grandson, and my brother in law's all fall around thanksgiving and it's a great practice run for Christmas - to check serving dishes, cutlery etc etc are all ready.

We started doing it one year that my friend was planning to be away over Christmas and my eldest daughter was moaning that her boyfriend would be with his parents on Christmas Day (they were 17 at the time)

There's no pressure around presents, wrapping, parties, etc it's just about food.

I regularly cook a roast dinner so it's nice to make an extra effort. Our version is probably not authentic but it's now traditional (for us):

cranberry sauce
bread sauce
mashed AND roast potatoes
toast parsnip
sweetpotato topped with marshmallow (to the haterz: don't knock it 'til
you've tried it)
sprouts, pancetta,chestnuts, Marsala
green beans with lemon
sausage stuffing with walnuts, cranberries
other stuffing
gravy - usually plastic bisto stuff cos that's what they like

I fall short on the pudding front. There's a distinct absence of pie. This year pudding was a lemon rasberry Ginger cheesecake-ish effort from Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals because I know they all like it.

PeshwariNaan Sat 24-Nov-12 08:27:53

I'm American but live in the UK with my English spouse.

Thanksgiving is pretty much a time for family and food (and American football, at home). I've found here that instead of one big Thanksgiving with family, we do 3-4 Thanksgiving per year with different sets of friends!!

In fact our English friends approach Thanksgiving with a real enthusiasm - they love it and look at it as a great opportunity to host a blowout dinner party.

I miss my family, but love my multiple potluck Thanksgivings here. smile

(no reason to NOT celebrate Thanksgiving if you're English... find some American friends and join in!)

PeshwariNaan Sat 24-Nov-12 08:28:49

ps. also like Thanksgiving for the fact that it provides a clear dividing line for getting Christmas-obsessive... I can start cards and tree now (though mince pies and cake have already been made).

GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 24-Nov-12 19:31:16

Oh we always left our tree up til at least New Years. I don't know anyone who didn't. Some leave them up til the 12th night.

However, I wouldn't assume those who put the tree out the day after Christmas are all joyless. grin The fact is, loads of us use the day after Thanksgiving to put the tree up, and if you've used a real tree, it's very possible it's at the end of its shelf life by Christmas, especially if it was an early Thanksgiving that year. We did have a year we had to put it out early (er, still not on Boxing day, but perhaps before New years) because it was particularly dry.

We've just had our Thanksgiving meal here. So full! The cornbread stuffing was a hit, which is good because we have enough leftover to last us the winter. Or, Tuesday, at the rate DH is picking at it. smile

kickassangel Sun 25-Nov-12 00:55:54

Pwshwari, last year as the last firework faded on July 4th I suddenly thought 'I can plan Christmas now'.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 25-Nov-12 09:03:08

And you can call the Butterball hotline at Thanksgiving and everything!

grin Olivia.

I still would like a turkey smiley. Or maybe Pilgrim Hats? That would be cool! Pilgrim hat smilies!!!

shadylane Sun 25-Nov-12 10:21:33

Thanksgiving is a celebration of colonialisation and genocide. But America and Americans are more interesting than the uk

CheerfulYank Sun 25-Nov-12 11:09:44

Well, it sort of is if you do the whole Pilgrims and Natives thing. But most people don't anymore, it's just a day to gather together and eat and give thanks for the blessings in your life. Bit like Halloween is just a day to dress up and get candy, not Samhain or whatever.

lljkk Sun 25-Nov-12 17:17:00

That is complete misrepresentation, ShadyLane. I say that as a Not-Very-Proud-Of-It descendent of very many of those genocidal religious zealots.
But Thanksgiving is a lot more complicated than what you wrote.

Bit like saying that Guy Fawkes Night is a celebration of the Death Penalty and oppression of Catholics and Freedom of Religion.

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