Thursday, November 26, 2015

The First Thanksgiving!

Donneschdeg, 26 November.

I imagine that the First Thanksgiving was a stressful time for everyone involved. Sure, it was a celebration of a successful harvest and sure, the Pilgrims were probably delighted to have (barely) survived their first year in the New World ... but I find it hard to believe that they didn't spend most of the holiday fretting that their guests wouldn't like the cooking. ("Dost thee like the gravy? I brought the recipe with me on the Mayflower.") And you just know that the Wampanoag were arguing in the car on the way to the celebration. ("I told you, bringing five deer makes it look like we're trying too hard!")

But as stressful as this very first celebration must have been, it pales in comparison to November 26, 2015 because ... it was my first ever time cooking Thanksgiving dinner!! And, like any wise beginner, I took things slow by signing up to make a full traditional American Thanksgiving dinner for my entire house of international housemates.

The stakes were high for my roommates' first ever American Thanksgiving!!

Unfortunately, sacrifices had to be made. Pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce were removed from the menu when the requisite canned goods proved too difficult to acquire. Cornbread stuffing was replaced with a baguette-based side of dressing. And -- as the very thought of cooking an entire turkey in my tiny oven had been causing me to break out into a cold sweat -- the traditional fowl was substituted for two of its less intimidating brethren. (In other words, I bought two rotisserie chickens and called it a day.) We ate on paper plates, drank cheap wine from plastic cups, and cut our food with mismatched silverware.

And at times, things were a little touch and go.

Like when we totally misjudged how long it would take for stuffing and candied yams to finish cooking. Or when my housemates realized that being asked to mash a kilogram of slightly under-cooked potatoes is code for cruel and unusual punishment. Or when I revealed my total lack of spacial awareness and dumped a whole bag of frozen haricots verts into a tiny, tiny pot.

But you know what? It turned out perfectly.

The green beans cooked, and so did the stuffing. The rotisserie chickens were devoured with as much enthusiasm as any turkey and the potatoes, once mashed, were doled out and eaten. Roommates and guests from Italy, Germany, and France discovered a previously-untapped love for stuffing and fascination with candied yams. And even though we ate until we couldn't eat anymore, everyone found a little bit of extra room for apple pie and cookie brownies.

Of course, it wasn't really about the food. (Well, it wasn't *ENTIRELY* about the food.) It was about the fact that I got to spend an important holiday, one that I would usually spend surrounded by family and friends in America, surrounded instead by some of my favorite new friends in Luxembourg.

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving from Luxembourg!

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