Happy Thanksgiving ex-pats and travelers

All of you overseas, how are you celebrating Thanksgiving today? I remember introducing French friends and family to the holiday or gathering with US friends and their French spouses. What about you?
Anyone in the US have an overseas Thanksgiving from the past to share?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8742 posts

Happy Thanksgiving to all, we are so glad that we have so much to be thankful for. Because Thanksgiving Day is not celebrated in the UK, and because I was at work today, we had a Thanksgiving meal a few days ago when I had a couple of days off. We are lucky to have found a source in London for Pepperidge Farm Stuffing and French's fried onions and other things, but we can't afford the British prices for Turkeys which, for a small turkey are often higher than £30 (US$48) to £50 (US$80). I remember when we used to get turkeys for free from work in the US or cheap as loss leaders from the supermarkets. We just can't afford the turkeys here. We got a large roasting chicken for £8 and roasted that. I made cranberry sauce from frozen cranberries, we used the onions and a can of soup to make "those green beans", sweet potatoes which are easy to get, mixed up the stuffing, made the gravy and sat down for a great meal. Got 2 more good meals out of them, too. We thought a lot about people who have a much less stable life than us, not that ours is particularly stable. We've just had Remembrance Sunday where the dead of all wars are remembered but especially those millions who died in the First World War - the "War to end all wars" - and I thought about my relative (just found the records) who was blown to smithereens at Passchendaele just before the Third Battle of Ypres. He was never found, nor any trace of him. I'll visit his plaque at Tyne Cot this summer. A close friend is having medical problems. We are so thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to all...

Posted by Mimi
Morrison, CO, USA
332 posts

Back in the 70's hubby was in the Air Force and we were stationed in Okinawa. One Thanksgiving we had three Japanese men friends for dinner. They were from mainland Japan and had never eaten turkey before or the side dishes, cornbread dressing, corn casserole, green beans in casserole, cranberries and bread pudding with rum sauce. They ate a lot! The day after Thanksgiving one of them came over and asked if I could get him a turkey so that he could take it back to his wife. He boarded the plane to Tokyo with a frozen turkey sitting on his lap! What a compliment.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Posted by Linda
Seattle, WA, USA
432 posts

Mimi, that is a wonderful story. The flight attendants probably got a kick out of it though. Happy Thanksgiving one and all. Celebrating with family and friends in Skykomish, WA with the snowy mountain as a backdrop. Hiking before the big meal and I am sure, in a turkey stuffed stupor later. Linda

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4761 posts

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you too! Because friends and family always have to work today, we usually have our turkey feast on Sunday. There is always a German or 2, and a stray Soldier or Marine invited. Our apt. is tiny, but it is fun squeezing 12 random people together to eat. Turkey prices weren't too bad this year Got a 5.8 kg one for 19.50 €. (I might go get another small one though to make sure we have enough) Make my own sage stuffing and have a huge pan of bread cubes drying right now. Pumpkin is the difficult thing to buy here, as a can that will make just 1 pie, is 6 € and that is if you can even find one at a gourmet grocery. So, we make our own, with Hokaido pumpkins. Very easy to use and you don't have to peel the darn things at all. Switched to making walnut pie instead of pecan pie, as they are too pricey. Though cranberries are widely available now, we prefer preiselbeeren, which are very similar, but smaller. Green bean casserole is a must, but the recipe has evolved over the years and probably is a bit different than what many people make. I usually make yeast rolls too, just to make sure we get enough carbs in our system. We enjoy having everybody over and it is interesting watching Germans try pumpkin pie, or pecan pie, or stuffing for the first time. Having some military folks share in the dinner, makes it nice too. Sometimes it has been strangers, but by the end of the dinner, they are friends. Lots of English language churches have potlucks, and a few of the restaurants in town also offer a turkey dinner today, for those that are traveling or who don't have time to make something.

Posted by CL
Salem, Oregon, USA
914 posts

Instead of American traditional, I did a European dinner today, in honor of my Eastern Europe trip this spring. My family dined on pirogi, Slovakian cucumber salad, Hungarian goulash (with self-imported paprika), Slovenian cream cake, and Czech beer. I love showing them new things that they'd never try otherwise. Even my picky nephew proclaimed the pirogi "thumbs up" worthy. Happy day of gratitude, wherever you find yourself this day.

Posted by Rik
Vicenza, Italy
702 posts

We always do a big Thanksgiving dinner and invite all of our Italian neighbors and friends. They absolutely love it, it's a novelty for them I guess and they look forward to it every year. Every year my neighbor Giampietro makes a toast to Italian-American friendship and then we proceed to kill a few dozen bottles of vino. Buona Festa del Ringraziamento!

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

The first Thanksgiving after we moved here, I happened to find a turkey in the supermarket. We had a French family who were once ex-pats in the US over to celebrate with us. First time I ever made stuffing from something other than Pepperidge Farms cubes, and it turned out great. Last year, I assumed I'd find a turkey again. Ha ha. Apparently, someone must have ordered it, not picked it up, and I just got lucky the previous year. The largest bird I could find was a guinea fowl. Kids weren't exactly appreciative. This year we've got some busy weekends, so our Thanksgiving dinner won't be until Dec. 1st. Guess who's ordering a turkey this year? Having friends over, so I need to have that bird. We've also got canned pumpkin, French's onions, Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and all the goodies we need for a "traditional" feast. Can't wait!

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

I'm not huge on Thanksgiving (tends to fall on my birthday! the nerve!) but I got together with a group of people, mostly american women married to german guys. It was a fun, if slightly weird gathering. I made a homemade "stuffing" (didn't actually go in a bird) with chestnuts and golden raisins, and homemade cranberry sauce with ginger and jalepenos, because I like sneaking spicy things into things Europeans may be eating. Today an American friend of mine cooked a full thanksgiving dinner only for Europeans - the invitees were French, German/South African, Danish, Dutch, and Australian. I think turkey is a bit overrated, but Thanksgiving sides can be amazing and are fun to cook and apparently it was a big success! Hope everyone had a nice holiday!

Posted by Jack
St Joe Beach Florida
149 posts

A couple of years ago my sister and I were in Madrid over the Thanksgiving weekend. Purely by chance I had a conversation in a cafe with a Hard Rock Cafe employee the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. She told us that the Madrid HRC had an afternoon American style Thanksgiving dinner planned for the next day. We attended and it was awesome!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

Spent a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with my grandson in Brugges...amazing place, we loved it and needless to say did not have traditional turkey! But, we didn't even miss it. (was fighting off a cold or we would have met up with Jo for her American/Germany dinner...thanks so much for the invite)