An American Thanksgiving in Germany

November 27, 2010

It all started with a Turkey...

Ahh, Thanksgiving... the turkey, the traditions, the family. But when you're an expat, holidays often mean family is half a world away and a big part of tradition is lost - and I wasn't even certain I could get a turkey. I'd been waiting all year to make up for our shoddy first holiday here (Christmas - no furniture, no tree, no presents - quite sad, to say the least) and our first Thanksgiving married (which was spent with us on separate continents). So you see why my expectations were set pretty high.

Wanted to make sure every last detail felt special, including the take-home placecards

In addition to never hosting my own Thanksgiving, let alone roasting any kind of entire animal, I had never cooked for more than about 6 or 7 seven people at a time. Realizing our guest list had grown to nearly a dozen, I fell into a mild panic. Half of our guests would be American. Would my Thanksgiving menu hold up to their beloved traditions? Could I successfully juggle one giant bird and five side dishes, with the end results making it to the table not only moist, but also still nice and warm? Needless to say, I put a lot of pressure on myself to bring all our wonderful new friends a welcoming, tasty and traditional Thanksgiving feast. 

Felt like paparazzi. (I think they were impressed...)

When it all came down to it, I had the help (and patience!) of all my friends - and of course, my wonderful husband - and everything made it to the table hot and delicious! All my fears that we would run out of food were completely unfounded. We still have a huge container of turkey in our fridge (almost a week later!). 

Sure sign of success - 
the vegetarian piling on the meat gravy!

Even better than the food for Thanksgiving was the company. We are amazingly lucky to have found such a wonderful group of people here in Germany. Like most European expats, most will likely continue to move around, or even head back to the United States, but I hope we will get the chance to spend at least a few more holidays with them all. A huge thank-you to them for making holidays without family not feel like such.

But then this arrives today, and I can't help but miss my family...

thanks Mom!

Three more weeks till my family arrives to celebrate Christmas the proper way with the Germans - the Weihnachtsmarkt, Christmas trees and sparkling lights everywhere you look, strangers sharing a table with their Glühwein! The countdown has begun...

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische
**Turkey basting photo courtesy of Y. Ormen