There are not many straight-up truly American events or holidays that can be brought over and performed successfully in Ireland. Tailgating a football game, for example, would not translate well. For one, there is no American football here. For another, it would most likely be raining and too wet to sit outside by your car and grill meat. That’s what pubs are for. It would be odd if Ireland had a long weekend to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day or Columbus day considering neither of those men ever set food in Ireland. Thanksgiving, however, is a celebration that travels well.
Along with my other American-married-to-Irishman friend, Sara, we hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving feast over the weekend. The main difference between our Thanksgiving and the ones in the States was the date. We didn’t have Thursday off, so we gave thanks and stuffed our faces on Saturday instead.
Yes, our celebration was without some of the classic Thanksgiving accoutrements. We had no Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade blaring from the television set, or a football game or two to scream over, but we made up for it with too much food and a specialty cocktail to mark the occasion. One of my favorite memories from my Thanksgivings in LA, is of making place tags and deciding who would sit where. I loved the little nod to formality that came with the day. So I decorated my table here, and made everyone little place tags with some rosemary from the garden.
Like all perfect Thanksgiving feasts, the meal was supplied by most of the guests. Everyone played a part and contributed in some way, making it perfectly communal. We had Turkey and stuffing, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, creamed corn and creamed onions, green beans and roast vegetables. Like Irish mammies, as the food piled up in pots on the stove, Sara and I were still uncertain as to wether it would be enough: “Do we need frozen peas?” “I have a loaf of bread if we need it.” “There are plenty of extra spuds to cook up.” “Sure, put out this dip and some olives and they can snack on that if they are hungry before.” When the meal was ready, everyone piled their plates high. All the gorgeous autumnal colours of the various foods made it a feast for the eyes as well. We cleaned said plates with gusto, and of course, their was enough food left for another ten diners. At least.
We had four desserts. Because surly one was not enough! There was the old classic pumpkin pie as well as apple pie and apple tart, and–curve ball!–lemon cheesecake. As you may imagine, there were plenty left over from that course as well. Everyone went home with enough food and dessert for at least another two dinners.
I invented a special cocktail for the occasion. Inspired by the BF’s rosemary infused rum concoction, I spun in a tiny dab of maple syrup in the bottom of a champagne flute, poured on the rum, added some fresh clementine juice, and topped it with Prosecco. We have yet to land on a perfect name for this tipple, but perhaps we should call it simply: Thanksgiving2012.
Thanksgiving is wonderful because it is about food, family and friends. The three F’s. It doesn’t deal with the chaos of present buying and gift wrapping. It is simply a day to be with people you love and feed them full of good food. That translates anywhere, I reckon, and I was so glad to have a chance to do it here.
And I am glad to have a chance to make delicious left-over sandwiches for the next few days too! That may just be the best part of all!