Thanksgiving, Expat style

by Christina Geyer on November 25, 2007 · 11 comments

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Our Thanksgiving party was a roaring success.  We had 24 guests, pretty evenly split between German speakers and English speakers.  Charlie was a hit with the kids and surprisingly well-behaved.  I’m not worried at all anymore about him interacting with Oliver when Oliver’s a little older.

Thanksgiving dinner

There were several expat bloggers in attendance, all of whom are great cooks.  O-Tay brought pumpkin soup, Sarah and Cliff brought the taters, Tammy brought a nut loaf, and Hezamarie came all the way from München with a delish corn cake.  Speaking of Hezamarie, she brought me this hydrangea (That’s what it’s called! 😉 ) and I love the colors.  Do any of my gardening readers know what kind of hydrangea this is? Cause I definitely want one of these in my garden.


And now, the recipes:

Tropical fruit salsa with jalapeno and bell peppers– instead of jalapenos, I used a tablespoon of Srirachi sauce.
Spice butter– I rubbed this over the turkey before cooking.  I also accidentally used salted butter instead of unsalted, so it turned out a little (okay, a lot) on the salty side.
Bourbon cranberry sauce – instead of bourbon, I used cognac.  This was much better than last year’s fig-based sauce (especially once Lynn told me that figs are full of wasp eggs… BLECH!)
Apple, sausage, and parsnip stuffing with fresh sage– I couldn’t find parsnips (Pastinak, auf Deutsch), so I used parsley root.  Instead of Italian sausage, I used an Aoste Wurst with figs and a very spicy Hungarian Wurst (I forget the brand).  I also did not peel the apples.
Orange-flavored sweet potatoes with oatmeal cookie topping– I added 1/4 cup of cognac to the potatoes.  Our neighbor asked Rainer why these taste like Christmas.  It’s because I use German Christmas cookies instead of oatmeal cookies.  Last year it was a mix of Lebkuchenand Leibniz Vollkornkeks, this year it was a mix of Spekulatius (Speculaas) and Magenbrot (this year’s topping was better, I’d say).
Ultimate pumpkin pie – The Germans and Austrians seemed to be a little afraid to try the pumpkin pie.  I made two 9″ pies, keeping in mind that I had 26 mouths to fill.  At the end of the party, I had a pie and a half left.  But, this recipe rocks, so plenty of pie leftovers for ME!
Chunky Oatmeal Macadamia Cookies– these are great and super easy since they’re made with yellow cake mix.  I used Schmelzflocken for the quick cooking oatmeal, because that’s what Rainer got.

  • O-tay

    Such a lovely party and a very nice group of people… thanks so much for having us all over! (And Wee Laddie very nearly fell asleep in the car on the way home, so please pass our thanks along to Charlie as well.)

    I’m sorry I missed the pumpkin pie, but I was simply too full. I *loved* the sausage/sage stuffing… my favorite item from the party.

    And, in the interest of full disclosure (or something), the soup was actually curried butternut squash.

    Thanks again!

  • Ben

    Good to see you’re keeping the expat Thanksgiving tradition alive. I’ll always remember last year’s. This year we had a small one with about 15 people and about a 2-1 Ami-German ratio. Also, we had left-over pumpkin pie, which I also was happy to help finish off, hehe.

  • silvia

    Hmm…the hydrangea can go in the garden by spring. Keep it indoors until then. I don’t know what kind it is. But as far as I know, the come “white” originally but will turn color depending on the condition of the soil. The more “sour” the soil is, the better the color. Ask in your local Gaertnerei for the kit.

  • rositta

    Hi Christina, I put one of those in my garden and it came up white the following year. I was told to put coffee grounds on the soil in the spring and it flowered blue the year after. Something to do with acidity in the soil. Lovely looking dinner, I missed Thanksgiving altogether this year, they don’t do it in Greece and I had nowhere to cook anyway…ciao

  • Hezamarie

    I knew you’d find out the name! I was tempted to ask yesterday because the florist were opened. (Komisch für einen Sonntag, oder?)

    Thanks again for a lovely Thanksgiving din-din. I’m jealous you have all those leftovers, that’s the best part.. no cooking!

  • Anonymous

    @Hezamarie: yesterday was Totensonntag, that’s why the florists were open.

    @Christina: regarding the cookies, what do you use in place of “1 box of yellow cake mix”?

  • Christina G

    @o-tay: No problem! I love entertaining! I think fullness was the real reason the pumpkin pie didn’t get eaten. There were leftovers of all the desserts (all the more for me – yay!). And I actually made a similar soup for last years party! Thanks for coming!

    @ben: Yeah, last year was a blast. No Thai appetizers this year though – too much work!

    @silvia & rositta: I mistyped that, she gave me a cut hydrangea flower, so I’ll be wanting to buy a plant. I guess I’ll take a photo with me when I go to the nursery in the spring. They should know what I need to do to the soil.

    @hezamarie: Yes, I am in leftover heaven at the moment!

    @anonymous: I happened to have a box of yellow cake mix that I was saving for… I dunno, the right occasion?… and it was going to expire, so I searched the internet and found this recipe. I guess if you don’t have cake mix, you can just make yellow cake batter from scratch, but there are probably easier cookie recipes than this one in that case.

  • barbara

    Hi Christina,
    I find that really cool that you have expats in your area with who you do Thanksgiving.You must have met a few others through your blogging.
    I met an explat blogger who is just a few towns down, and she is getting me into different activites !
    We were supposed to do Thanksgiving as scheduled but had been postponed for this coming Saturday.
    I’am sure that we will have a great time:)
    I’am bringing Banana bread & the traditional cornbread.

    Have a nice day my friend.

  • Christina G

    Hi Barbara, have fun at your expat Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday, and I missed it so much, that I just had to celebrate it here. Take care!

  • Philipp

    I do not know how I stumpled upon your blog, but it’s funny that I also picked up “Thanksgiving” for one of my blog posts and I sort of tried to explain what this traditions means and how people celebrate it.
    Nice blog.

  • Christina G

    Thanks Philipp!

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