For an American to make the transition from what I would consider to be a somewhat "tradition-less" country to a country overflowing with traditions, there is one American tradition that I just don't want to let go of...Thanksgiving. I would almost have to say that this is one of the only American traditions that is celebrated nation-wide in almost the same manner. Everyone usually gathers with their family to eat the single best meal of the year with the most harmonic blend of flavors and tastes that has ever been invented. (turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and the always tasty and most-anticipated...pumpkin pie!)
Really the idea was not even my own to do a Thanksgiving meal here, but the idea from a good friend of mine that had lived in the States for a few years and had also come to love this wonderful day of overeating and relaxing with the family. I would almost have to say that it is partially about her embracing her past memories, but mostly an outlet for this talented former recipe writer of Essen und Trinken Für jeden Tag. (a wonderful cooking magazine in here in Germany)
Since I was working on Thanksgiving we decided to celebrate on the only weekend that was available for everyone, but it had to be before Christmas! We kind of thought of it as a late Thanksgiving/pre-practice for Christmas eating dinner, but hey...it's never too late to be thankful, right?!?
It was the first Thanksgiving that I have ever celebrated with Christmas music in the background and pine branches and Christmas ornaments adorning the table. Unlike many Americans, we did not put up our Christmas tree today, our day after "Thanksgiving", or plan to get up a 4:00 am to flood the shopping centers for the "Black Friday" rush. (considered the most crowded and #1 shopping day for retailers with all the after Thanksgiving day sales...really crazy!!!)
We had a great time laughing and talking, and the kids kept themselves entertained with building forts out of the sofa cushions. It was a small group, but with the people that I consider my family here. I was on "explosion duty", what my husband calls it when I cook, and he was on "clean up" duty. But I think it is obvious who the real brains of the kitchen was. It was so cute...that evening, the daughter of my friend, who is usually quite shy and quiet, waltzed into the kitchen, pulled up a stool, and proceeded to help me with the mashed potatoes while clarifying that she already knew what she was doing because she cooks in kindergarten. Ah, the making of a chef and what better way to begin future career endeavours than to help prepare the best meal of the year.