Sunday, November 30, 2008

So that's Thanksgiving

Mashed potatoes with turkey? I know, shocking.

We have an American vicar, for reasons I've never quite gathered. (I know why we have a vicar, because we're that kind of church, and I know why he's American because you don't really get a choice in that when your parents are American and you're born in Pittsburgh. I've just not yet quite understood how he ended up here, but I'm very glad he did because he's a great guy.)

Last night we commorated the fact with an American-style Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, corn bread, peas and sweetcorn. All ingredients genuinely American, acquired somehow from a US airforce base. And the menu ...

The vicar explained beforehand that American palates are not quite the same as British ones. They don't draw the same distinctions between sweet and savoury. And how! The corn bread is essentially dry Victoria sponge. It could have served with the sweet potato casserole as our dessert - except of course that dessert was pumpkin pie and pecan pie. (I was surprised to hear how many people present had never had pumpkin pie - I've had it often thanks to my mother's cooking at home. Never had pecan pie, though.) I think the Americans must have invented cranberry sauce in a desperate attempt to drag it at least a little over to the savoury side of the taste spectrum.

But I quibble. This was my first Thanksgiving dinner and very nice it was too. It certainly whetted my appetite for the real thing in 25 days time ...


  1. The Brits will never get the whole Thanksgiving thing. But, I'm glad you got to experience it. I have bestowed the privileged upon my local Brit friends as well. I don't even bother with Pumpkin pie or candy yams because I know my friends will just wonder even more about my sanity. But, to truly experience it you must not leave out the thankful part.

  2. Never fear, we did the thankful. We went round the table and everyone said one thing they were thankful for this year. I agree, without that part it would just be a nice meal at a strange time of year.

  3. Having just got back from visting the US and had my first Thanksgiving dinner prepared by an industrious and lovely American lady, I have one quibble - the portions on your plate are far too small. I understand that true authenticity requires that the food form a small dome on your plate.

    The suprisingly sweet dish on my plate was yam with pecan topping. The cranberry sauce with port and cinnamon was fabulous.

    I felt slightly bad about falling asleep afterwards, but I was promised that this was traditional and most of the rest of the country was doing the same thing.

    I'd like to ignore Halloween and start celebrating Thanksgiving in the UK please...

  4. The sleeping bit may be helped by the national custom of watching the Superbowl. We watched a video of the 2006 version and all I can say is it worked for me.


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