Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Steps to Prepare an American Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that you just don't understand unless you've experienced it.  So, I set out to create an American Thanksgiving halfway around the world. 

Step 1:  Planning the Menu/ Buying the Supplies
As a seasoned Thanksgiving eater, I really didn't take into account the difficulty I would have in planning a menu for it in New Zealand.  Unlike in the US, all of the Thanksgiving supplies aren't readily available on the end caps and sales flyers at all of the local stores...it's just not that easy to find the things I need.

For example, I wanted to actually make cranberries.  Unfortunately, they aren't in season so fresh ones aren't an option.  I asked around and found out that they sold cranberry sauce in the store.  Perfect.  Encouraged I went to the grocery store and with some assistance located the aisle.  And with some more assistance from a kind customer - he pointed them out on the shelf.  Without help I'm not sure I would have noticed the only two options of what I can only call cranberry jam on the shelves.  Definitely not what I was looking for. 

Fortunately, I have the American store.  I was told about this little wonder of a place several months ago but haven't really had the need for it (although there is comfort in knowing it's there).  Martha's Backyard (a.k.a. the American store) seems to be the place to get all those dried goods that I want from home.  They even stock graham crackers!  Kraft mac & cheese, Jiffy muffin mix, Koolaid, Jell-o, big red party cups, Heinz ketchup, Betty crocker cake mixes, Bounce dryer sheets - all the things that you don't really think about until you don't have them.  And, most importantly, canned pumpkin and cranberries along with an array of other Thanksgiving supplies.

With a bit of research, I persevered and finalised my menu (for 14 people) as the following:
  • Veges and dip
  • Turkey with stuffing
  • Corn
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Green beans
  • Cranberries
  • Biscuits
  • Corn Bread
  • Apple Sauce
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
  • Pecan bars

Step 2:  Let the Cooking Begin
One of the things I wanted to be able to do was provide this elaborate feast without much help.  I know that's not a traditional Thanksgiving, but my friends have done so much for me that I wanted them to be able to just rock up and enjoy.  It's still to be determined if this means that I've bitten off more than I can chew. 

Step 3:  Sorting my Holiday Plans
With Thanksgiving, comes the Christmas and New Year holiday season!  One of my favorite times of the year, I thought it was finally time to work out my plans.  Afterall, most offices are shut down for at least two weeks.  My office is closed from December 24 - January 17 so I have a month of time to fill.  It will be prime summer months here so I'll miss the nice cold winter feeling, I think I'll make due with some quality beach time.  Camping, S'mores (one more reason to love the American store), Pub bands, hiking, friends and lots of beaches are in my near future!  I can't think of a more Kiwi-way to spend the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

To be thankful for:
- New experiences
- Old traditions

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