Results tagged Thanksgiving from David Lebovitz

Cranberry Sauce with Red Wine and Figs

Cranberry Sauce

People often ask me what Parisians do for Thanksgiving. And while many French holidays are celebrated in America, Thanksgiving is one that doesn’t cross the Atlantic.

I’ve done a Thanksgiving dinner for friends and it takes quite a bit of time to find and assemble all the ingredients. And although a few stores that cater to American expats stock everything, it’s more fun to make fresh pumpkin puree for pies, break up a pain au levain for stuffing, and to get a free-range French turkey – which I found out that many poultry sellers with rotisseries will pop it on their spit-roaster for you, which is a boon for those in Paris with dinky ovens.

Cranberry Sauce

And, if I may be so bold, Thanksgiving is a holiday where we spend eating food that doesn’t especially appeal to people outside of the United States. The French eat pumpkins, but roasted, and not in dessert. (Nor with marshmallows!) The French version of stuffing, or farce is mostly meat, with a bit of seasonings to round out the flavor. And flour-thickened brown gravy isn’t quite the same as sauce au jus de volaille.

Cranberry Sauce

So while we Americans love all that stuff for nostalgic reasons, people in France don’t have that same set of references we do, and most seem to politely “appreciate” it, but I don’t know any French people who hoard molasses or stuffing mix, or spend the few months prior to November downloading Thanksgiving recipes.

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Thanksgiving

soup

I’ve been rather buried in a mess of stuff this year, and, well…I didn’t get it together in time for Thanksgiving. There were no posts on how to roast the best turkey – although I’m kind of in the camp of just put the dang thing in the oven for a few hours, and stop worrying so much about it – it’s just turkey. Last year I worked with a dinky oven and we had around a dozen diverse people over for dinner, so I just cut it up and oven-braised the beast, and no one complained. I think people were just happy to have fun with each other and eat together. (The wine helped as well, no doubt.)

And there aren’t going to be any posts about what to do with turkey leftovers. Sorry, but it doesn’t get any better than turkey Tetrazzini.

Because I live in Paris, there’s no run-up to Thanksgiving. There are no supermarket ads imploring us to buy canned yams, marshmallows (I wish!), stuffing mixes, and discounted turkeys. My social media streams aren’t full of French food bloggers posting recipes and Thanksgiving tips. It’s just another day for them, and those of us who live here. Some folks are having dinners this weekend because it’s a “school night” so if you’re going to have a big dinner party, it’s better to do it on the weekend when folks don’t have to wake up early to go to work.

I’ve also been a bit preoccupied with the news of the storm on the east coast in America a few weeks ago, and this week, watching another sad chapter in a decades-long struggle. War never really solves anything – Europe is now unified and Americans and Vietnamese seem to be a-ok with each other. Unfortunately this situation seems unresolvable at the moment, but when a chef from one of the regions of conflict gave me a big hug after I told him how much I loved his cooking during a trip there, it made a certain someone who isn’t necessarily overly emotional well-up just thinking about it as he writes about it still, at this particular moment. Those five seconds were the highlight of the year for me.

(The other was that we got to see Anderson Cooper on CNN here in Europe this week.)

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Thanksgiving in Paris

pumpkins & potimarron

This article was written in 2012, however many of the places do an annual Thanksgiving feast. Check the websites of the venues to see what they are offering. -david

It’s that time of the year, when Americans gather around the Thanksgiving table. Because of the number of requests from travelers, and some locals, here is a round-up of places serving Thanksgiving meals. Since the holiday is celebrated on Thursday, which is a regular working day in Paris, many places offer the meal on other nights of the week as well.

I’ve linked to the venue, and the event, so folks can check out what each place is offering. I can’t make specific recommendations since I usually stay at home so this list is for informational purposes. Listed are two places that sell Thanksgiving supplies and foods, and most outdoor markets and butchers in Paris also sell turkeys (and turkey melons!) There are excellent farm-raised turkeys in France, although they’re not as common to find as other poultry.

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Apricot, Almond and Lemon Bread

cake2

When is a cake not a cake? When you’re in France. These ‘cakes’ (pronounced kek) are what we might call ‘quick bread’ in the United States, although we usually make them sweet. So I’ll have to give one to the French and say that they’re right—this actually falls more in the category of a cake rather than a bread.

on rue tatin eggs

People often ask what people in France do for Thanksgiving. Well, to them, bascially the day is just another random Thursday in late November. (Albeit with a few crazed Americans scavenging madly though the Grand Épicerie searching for fresh cranberries and canned pumpkin.) Although I’ve been wrong before, I would venture to guess that not many other cultures systematically celebrates a joint feast between the pilgrims and Native Americans that took place a long time ago in the United States. And I’m not sure why folks would think that people in France..or Bali, Korea, or Iceland, would celebrate an American holiday*, but we Americans who live here do celebrate The Most Important Day on the Planet.

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