A few weeks ago we celebrated our first Thanksgiving outside of America. It was super weird to get up and go to work on my favorite day of the year. I kept remembering at random times during the day that it was Thanksgiving, and wishing that I was eating turkey, drinking wine, or taking a nap.
Since we didn’t have Thursday or Friday off, we celebrated on the following Saturday. Conor and I hosted a few American friends and one lucky Australian who was thrilled to get her first taste of “American Thanksgiving”.
The meal was fantastic. I can take credit for most of the cooking, but the true MVP of Thanksgiving this year was, hands down, Conor Driscoll – the man who navigated over 8 Dutch grocery stores to hunt for a ridiculously long list of ingredients made by yours truly. Imagine you’re a guy who already doesn’t know what all the items on the list look like (i.e. shallots, shortening, etc). Now, add to that the fact that all the food labels are in a different language. Then, consider that all the useless teenagers who work in the grocery stores are even more useless because they don’t know English well enough to understand words like “cloves” or “sage”. And then top it off with the fact that foods here are just different – different sizes, different packaging, different brands, and sometimes just non-existent.
The trickiest ingredients to find were pumpkin pie filling, corn syrup for the pecan pie, and shortening for the pie crust. The Netherlands really didn’t want me to make pies. In the end, our search for these ingredients led us to discover an international food store just a couple blocks from our apartment which is packed with American guilty pleasures like Kraft mac and cheese, Pop-Tarts, and every brand of sugary cereal you could imagine. Now we know where to go if we ever get homesick.
All in all, Thanksgiving was a success. We ate, drank, played games, and then ate and drank some more. And by the end of the night, even the Australian had to unbutton her pants to make room for dessert.