Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

November 14th was Thanksgiving Day in France. Not having any family here in France, George and I decided to celebrate Turkey Day with 100 of our closest friends. Not having 100 friends, we settled for about 15 friends and 85 strangers.

Thanksgiving is not, of course, a French holiday, but it is not, as some people think, a purely American festival either. Thanksgiving is a relatively big holiday in Canada too, complete with a Canadian Football League doubleheader just like the NFL doubleheader we get every Turkey Day in the US. While American Thanksgiving is always on the last Thursday in November, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October. French Thanksgiving, being celebrated mostly by American and Canadian expats, is therefore celebrated on November 14th (or any available weekend in between the two holidays from the homeland).

Of the 100 people at the dinner, I would say 35-40 where American, 5 or 6 Canadians, 1 Australian, 1 Venezuelan, a couple Chinese people, and the rest French. The food was mostly traditional American food, with a couple french appetizers mixed in for variety, and of course a huge amount of wine (although we did have wine in a box, which always seemed particularly American to me). The food was really good, particularly the sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, both of which are hard to find in France.

George and I made deviled eggs, which I had always assumed was a very American food. Turns out deviled eggs are actually from Italy, and are not uncommon in France, so to make mine more American, I added some Heinz Sweet Relish that I bought while I was in Hong Kong a few months ago, since relish does not exist in France.

The conversation was good too. We met a few more couples around our age, a few more Americans, and got to discuss the difficulties of watching American sports live in France with all the technical and time-zone related problems that entails.

All in all a good night. After getting lost trying to walk home, George and I ran into one of the couples from the dinner and ending up going out for more drinks and discussions of Michael Jackson lyrics, finding vegetarian food in Lyon, and other important topics.


Moka Bear and Grizzly said...

Bonjour Michael!

Thanks for joining our blog! I had a look at the pictures you sent us. They are lovely! We also cart with our Bernese and intend to get Grizzly started when he gets better on the leash!

Also read your blog which made me laugh because we always buy sweet relish when we go to Canada!

We're having an American Thanksgiving dinner (our first ever)on Sunday at a friends place. He is a US Marine and works on the base here. He brought us to the American grocery store a few months back and we got out of there with over 100 USD worth of food: chicken wings, Montery Jack, Ruffles chips, sweet relish, etc...

Bonne chance avec l'apprentissage du Francais! I know it can be pretty hard. I'm French Canadian and gave private tuitions when we first moved to Cambridge but I now own a small doggie daycare (

If you and your wife ever come to Cambridge, please do let us know. We also have a guest bedroom that you are more than welcome to. It looks like we won't be moving to Houston before fall 2010 (my husband is going to ask for a transfer, fingers crossed!)

Belly rubs to you furry and take care!

Cindy, Darcy, Moka Bear & Grizzly

michael said...

there is an American grocery store in Cambridge?

My wife and I were actually up there in July, and it is a really cool city. We really enjoyed our time in England, especially the food (although more the many international offerings than anything really English).

I grew up in Texas and have been to Houston many times and have family that lives in the swamp just north of there (on the Louisiana border). Have you been there?

Moka Bear and Grizzly said...

Hi, the American grocery store is on the army base, about 30 minutes west of Cambridge. We were like kids in a toys store when we went and wanted to buy everything!

Well spotted on the TV, it is football! It was the semi-final for the Grey Cup 2 weeks ago. Our team (Montreal Alouettes) won the Cup but we missed the game as we went to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends. They were kind enough to invite us AND buy us some root beer and hot apple cider!

We haven't been to Texas yet but I'm sure we'll like it. I've been in touch with many residents and everyone is just so friendly and generous of their time. We definitely won't miss the British food and the weather!

I saw on your blog that you were sometimes craving mini wheats??? Well I saw a picture of the cereal box... If you want me to mail you a couple boxes, let me know. We have them in the stores here.


Cindy, Darcy, Moka Bear & Grizzly