Every American expat has a story about trying to find a turkey, or pumpkin, or oven (in Asia, ovens are not a standard feature in kitchens). During my twenties I lived in London and the big challenge was convincing people that Thanksgiving was a serious holiday, “on a Thursday?” One year I’d started an MA program that had a lot of Americans and my boyfriend and I had just bought a flat. I loved entertaining and had inherited a huge old-fashioned gas cooker with two ovens, so I invited everyone to Thanksgiving dinner. There was one small problem: the gas hadn’t been connected. When Thanksgiving came and it was time to get the turkey in the oven, the gasman still hadn’t turned up.
Fortunately, one of my publishing friends lived just down Camberwell Grove. We squeezed the massive, American-sized bird into his tiny oven. The grad students turned up with side dishes and many bottles of wine. Since we didn’t have much furniture, everyone sat on the floor drinking wine and playing Trivial Pursuit while the gasman (who turned up in the early evening so maybe my phone calls had got someone’s attention) crawled around tapping floorboards, looking for the line. Every once and a while Alwyn went down the road to check on the turkey, while the game continued and the wine flowed. I think we even gave some to the gasman.
After a couple of hours, the ovens went on, dishes went in, and we went to rescue the turkey, bearing it up the street on bath towels, steaming and emitting, it seemed to me, small puffs of smoke. “At least it didn’t catch on fire,” said someone, looking at its charred top and sides.
That meal, nonetheless, like every Thanksgiving meal that has ever taken place, was delicious and festive and far, far too much food. We’d love to hear your stories of an expat Thanksgiving, too: just leave a comment below. Thanks for your notes and stories, and thanks for your place in our lives!
Karen CHRISTENSEN, CEO & Publisher
Berkshire Blog: www.berkshirepublishing.com/blog
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