Articles Related to Thanksgiving overseas

Recently Black Friday ceded its top retail spot to Singles Day in China. 
Singles Day started in the 1990s, rather than 400 years ago. China has a huge population, and Alibaba promotes Singles Day as a way for Chinese singles to buy something special for themselves. They do, to the tune of US$9 billion this year.

I had another memorable Thanksgiving in London. In 1992 I came into a small amount of extra money and on a lark headed off to London to spend Thanksgiving with friends there. I stuck around into the Christmas season and went to hear the Messiah sung at St. Paul's Cathedral.

In the old days in Chiang Mai, before huge numbers of Westerners moved here, Americans celebrated at least some holidays at the American consulate. But as more and more Westerners poured in, the consulate grounds became too small to handle the crowds. The last holiday fete celebrated there was Independence Day six years ago.

These days Halloween and Christmas have caught on big time in Thailand. But Thanksgiving gets some play, too, and many restaurants offer traditional turkey dinners for US$10 or so. Although a handful of Thais celebrate Thanksgiving, for the most part Americans and other Westerners jam into these places on turkey day.

We often skip the turkey specials but always choose to celebrate and give thanks for the good things that happened during the year. For our Thanksgiving in Penang we chose an Indian feast. In Argentina we usually had lavish asados, or barbecues, with five or six meat courses. One year we invited a young Argentine couple that was moving to Texas. Now, in Houston, they report that Thanksgiving has become their favorite American holiday. And they stick with the menu, a big asado with friends.

This year in Chiang Mai Vicki and I will celebrate Thanksgiving at our favorite French restaurant, La Fourchette. We'll go with new friends, just the four of us. I'll have duck instead of turkey.

Vicki and I tend to downplay holidays that merely mark the passage of time—birthdays, for example, or anniversaries or New Years. We prefer holidays organized around a theme, like Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, or Labor Day. In recent years we've gone a step further and for Thanksgiving try to celebrate with new friends. After all, on Thanksgiving we celebrate the good things that happened during the year. And one of the best things that happens to us, or anyone, ever, is to make new friends.

So that's it: Our favorite French restaurant, new friends, and thanks. What a simple way to celebrate.

Paul Terhorst

Continue reading: Plan For A Nicaragua Canal Could Be Real

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We've striven each year to have the complete meal--roast turkey, homemade stuffing using my grandmother's recipe, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, corn, and biscuits, plus pumpkin pie for dessert--and to share it with as many local friends as possible, everywhere we've happened to find ourselves come Thanksgiving Day.

In Panama City, this hasn't been hard. Panama City has been making an effort for decades to import the American way of life, and this is nowhere more evident than in the city's big supermarkets. At Riba-Smith, for example, starting late October, you see aisle displays offering Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, Libby's pumpkin pie filling, ready-made pie crust, Stove Top stuffing, and oversized roasting pans. One area of the freezer section is given over to turkeys, available in any size you might want, up to 30 pounds and more. We've celebrated two Thanksgivings in Panama City, inviting, each time, a dozen local guests, including other Americans, but also Panamanians, Germans, Russians, and Canadians we've become friends with here. For them, the meal is mysterious and exotic.

In Paris, too, preparing an authentic Thanksgiving dinner was easy enough, thanks to a store on rue Saint Paul in the 4th arrondissement that shares the holiday's name. Each year we were living in Paris and decided to spend Thanksgiving Day there, Kaitlin, Jackson, and I would set out early the Saturday before to walk along the river from our apartment in the 7th to "Thanksgiving" in the 4th. It was an hour-long hike that we enjoyed much more going than returning, as, for the walk back home, we'd be loaded down with sacks of American specialty items we indulged in at this time of year only. In addition to cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie filling, the tastes of American life we splurged on included Kool-Aid and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for Jackson and Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup for the bunch of us. Jackson had never heard of Kool-Aid or Aunt Jemima before our visits to Thanksgiving, so, for him, these indulgences became as associated with the annual American feast day as turkey and mashed potatoes.

The turkey, though, you couldn't get from Thanksgiving...or from any supermarket in Paris, at least not a turkey of the size we wanted for the big annual Turkey Day. This we had to special-order, weeks in advance, from a boucherie, or butcher. Fortunately, for us, there was a great one on our block. One year, though, we waited too long to place our order, and our neighborhood butcher wasn't able to oblige our turkey request. We found another boucherie, in the 1st, who was. Thanksgiving Day, around noon, Lief set out, on foot (we didn't own a car while in Paris), to retrieve our roasted bird from the mile-away butcher shop. Lief returned, a couple of hours later, winded and weary. It's no easy thing, he had learned, to carry a 25-pound turkey, still hot and steaming and wrapped in aluminum foil on a board, a mile through the center of Paris. Six-year-old Jackson, who'd accompanied his dad for the turkey hunt, had carried back the sack containing the roasting juices.

"I knew I'd better not show up without the juices for the gravy," Lief explained as he dropped the board with the turkey on the dining room table and then collapsed on the sofa. "Good thing I had Jack to help."

We'd ordered the turkey roasted, as we'd learned, the year before, that our Paris apartment-sized oven wasn't Thanksgiving turkey compatible. We could squeeze a 10- or 12-pound bird into our little oven, but nothing bigger.

Likewise, our Paris apartment-sized kitchen wasn't built for preparing Thanksgiving feasts, but we managed. Lief, Kaitlin, Jackson, and, often, friends of Kaitlin and Jackson, would pitch in. Sometimes, when we ran out of counter space entirely, this meant, for them, standing in the corner of the kitchen, in the hallway off the kitchen, or out in the dining room holding a tray of biscuits awaiting its turn for the oven or a bowl of bread crumbs that would become the stuffing as soon as I found room somewhere to sit a bowl big enough for combining the ingredients.

One year, the second of two trays of biscuits was put in the closet off the kitchen for safe-keeping while the first tray was in the oven. Only, in the rush of things, it was forgotten. I guess no one wanted to mention the shortage of biscuits at dinner, and I didn't discover the tray of uncooked dough until the next day when I opened the closet door to put away the table linens from the night before.

In Waterford, though, years ago, the struggle was greater. As I said, back then, you couldn't buy a plucked and oven-ready turkey in the supermarket. Our first Thanksgiving in Waterford, I found this out the hard way, by asking at every market in town. In Waterford, unlike in Paris, I wasn't even offered the option of special-ordering a turkey, roasted or not. Instead, my inquiries met with blank stares.

Finally, I asked a friend, Gerri.

"I understand that you don't have Thanksgiving here in Ireland," I said, "but you do eat turkey, don't you? Where do you get it?"

"You raise it. Or you buy it from a farmer," Gerri explained.

By the time we left Ireland, seven years later, it was possible to buy a frozen turkey in any of the big supermarkets that opened while we were Waterford residents. However, those first few years, a turkey for roasting was a home-grown specialty. Our first Thanksgiving in Waterford, therefore, Gerri introduced me to a farmer friend of hers able to oblige my turkey agenda. We could have paid him to pluck the bird for us, but Gerri thought it'd be fun for me to pluck it myself. She and I, therefore, one cold, misty November Saturday, found ourselves in the drafty unheated barn of her farmer friend, recently dead turkey on the plank table before us.

Here's what I can tell you from that experience: Turkey skin does not part readily with its plumage.

Kathleen PeddicordContinue Reading:

Read more...
 

We've striven each year to have the complete meal--roast turkey, homemade stuffing using my grandmother's recipe, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, corn, and biscuits, plus pumpkin pie for dessert--and to share it with as many local friends as possible, everywhere we've happened to find ourselves come Thanksgiving Day.

In Panama City, this hasn't been hard. Panama City has been making an effort for decades to import the American way of life, and this is nowhere more evident than in the city's big supermarkets. At Riba-Smith, for example, starting late October, you see aisle displays offering Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, Libby's pumpkin pie filling, ready-made pie crust, Stove Top stuffing, and oversized roasting pans. One area of the freezer section is given over to turkeys, available in any size you might want, up to 30 pounds and more. We've celebrated two Thanksgivings in Panama City, inviting, each time, a dozen local guests, including other Americans, but also Panamanians, Germans, Russians, and Canadians we've become friends with here. For them, the meal is mysterious and exotic.

In Paris, too, preparing an authentic Thanksgiving dinner was easy enough, thanks to a store on rue Saint Paul in the 4th arrondissement that shares the holiday's name. Each year we were living in Paris and decided to spend Thanksgiving Day there, Kaitlin, Jackson, and I would set out early the Saturday before to walk along the river from our apartment in the 7th to "Thanksgiving" in the 4th. It was an hour-long hike that we enjoyed much more going than returning, as, for the walk back home, we'd be loaded down with sacks of American specialty items we indulged in at this time of year only. In addition to cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie filling, the tastes of American life we splurged on included Kool-Aid and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for Jackson and Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup for the bunch of us. Jackson had never heard of Kool-Aid or Aunt Jemima before our visits to Thanksgiving, so, for him, these indulgences became as associated with the annual American feast day as turkey and mashed potatoes.

The turkey, though, you couldn't get from Thanksgiving...or from any supermarket in Paris, at least not a turkey of the size we wanted for the big annual Turkey Day. This we had to special-order, weeks in advance, from a boucherie, or butcher. Fortunately, for us, there was a great one on our block. One year, though, we waited too long to place our order, and our neighborhood butcher wasn't able to oblige our turkey request. We found another boucherie, in the 1st, who was. Thanksgiving Day, around noon, Lief set out, on foot (we didn't own a car while in Paris), to retrieve our roasted bird from the mile-away butcher shop. Lief returned, a couple of hours later, winded and weary. It's no easy thing, he had learned, to carry a 25-pound turkey, still hot and steaming and wrapped in aluminum foil on a board, a mile through the center of Paris. Six-year-old Jackson, who'd accompanied his dad for the turkey hunt, had carried back the sack containing the roasting juices.

"I knew I'd better not show up without the juices for the gravy," Lief explained as he dropped the board with the turkey on the dining room table and then collapsed on the sofa. "Good thing I had Jack to help."

We'd ordered the turkey roasted, as we'd learned, the year before, that our Paris apartment-sized oven wasn't Thanksgiving turkey compatible. We could squeeze a 10- or 12-pound bird into our little oven, but nothing bigger.

Likewise, our Paris apartment-sized kitchen wasn't built for preparing Thanksgiving feasts, but we managed. Lief, Kaitlin, Jackson, and, often, friends of Kaitlin and Jackson, would pitch in. Sometimes, when we ran out of counter space entirely, this meant, for them, standing in the corner of the kitchen, in the hallway off the kitchen, or out in the dining room holding a tray of biscuits awaiting its turn for the oven or a bowl of bread crumbs that would become the stuffing as soon as I found room somewhere to sit a bowl big enough for combining the ingredients.

One year, the second of two trays of biscuits was put in the closet off the kitchen for safe-keeping while the first tray was in the oven. Only, in the rush of things, it was forgotten. I guess no one wanted to mention the shortage of biscuits at dinner, and I didn't discover the tray of uncooked dough until the next day when I opened the closet door to put away the table linens from the night before.

In Waterford, though, all those years ago, the struggle was greater. As I said, back then, you couldn't buy a plucked and oven-ready turkey in the supermarket. Our first Thanksgiving in Waterford, I found this out the hard way, by asking at every market in town. In Waterford, unlike in Paris, I wasn't even offered the option of special-ordering a turkey, roasted or not. Instead, my inquiries met with blank stares from every butcher and shopkeeper of whom I made inquiry.

Finally, I asked a friend, Gerri.

"I understand that you don't have Thanksgiving here in Ireland," I said, "but you do eat turkey, don't you? Where do you get it?"

"You raise it. Or you buy it from a farmer," Gerri explained.

By the time we left Ireland, seven years later, it was possible to buy a frozen turkey in any of the big supermarkets that opened while we were Waterford residents. However, those first few years, a turkey for roasting was a home-grown specialty. Our first Thanksgiving in Waterford, therefore, Gerri introduced me to a farmer friend of hers able to oblige my turkey agenda. We could have paid him to pluck the bird for us, but Gerri thought it'd be fun for me to pluck it myself. She and I, therefore, one cold, misty November Saturday, found ourselves in the drafty unheated barn of her farmer friend, recently dead turkey on the plank table before us.

Here's what I can tell you from that experience: Turkey skin does not readily part with its plumage.

Kathleen PeddicordContinue Reading:

Read more...
 
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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

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