Happy (late) Thanksgiving to all my American (and Canadian) friends!
This marks my 9th year of being in France for the big day.
Yep, you heard it right. I haven’t been in the US for Thanksgiving since 2005. I have been in France every Thanksgiving since then. Sometimes I celebrated the day (like last year), sometimes I have not. It depends on my level of motivation, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I’m usually more motivated than not.
And it’s hard not to be motivated to get cooking when it’s getting easier and easier to find the needed ingredients in France. And I’m not talking about ordering off special websites, or going to speciality shops. I’m talking about just popping into the supermarket.
Other long-term expats in France would probably agree with me when I say that there are many more American products that are available now than just a few years ago. For example, Philadelphia cream cheese is everywhere. When I first arrived? Forget about it! Then, it was available at Monoprix before slowly making its way to other supermarkets. Our local Auchan supermarket now stocks Reese’s, Dr Pepper, Rootbeer, etc.
Other than a seasoning mix leftover from other years (though I could easily make it here if I wanted), every single thing I needed for my meal was bought at local stores including the pumpkin* (see below), sweet potatoes (found practically everywhere), and cranberries (found at Monoprix, Carrefour, Grand Frais, etc).
Okay, it is difficult to find a whole turkey as they are bred for Christmas time in France, but I always opt for a rôti de dinde (turkey roast) made from turkey breasts anyway. It’s all white meat (what I like), and you’re not paying for the weight of bones. I cook it just like I would a normal turkey (basting it and everything), and it comes out nice and juicy. This year, I ordered one from the butcher in our new neighborhood, and it might have been the best turkey I’ve ever eaten!
J was out of town on Thanksgiving itself, so we celebrated the Saturday after with two of our closest friends (and I was once again the only American). It was a delicious dinner (if I do say so myself), and great catching up with some good friends.
Making homemade cranberry sauce
Table all set
Thanksgiving is served!
(No pictures of the group as I didn’t ask permission to publish their photo.)
*And in case anyone is wondering, I found the pumpkin puree at Picard. It’s just like the canned only frozen. They also have good bagels (to put your Philadelphia to good use)! They’re so much better than the questionable ones you find in the bread aisle of certain supermarkets.
What products have you found in France that used to be impossible to come across?