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Thanksgiving dinner ?

  1. Nov 13, 2007 #1

    cristo

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    I've got a slight dilemma: my girlfriend's coming to stay with me during her thanksgiving break, since she's got time off school. She mentioned, in passing, how she'd really miss a thanksgiving meal this year so, without thinking this one through properly, I said that I'd give her an American thanksgiving in England. Now, obviously I have no idea what thanksgiving entails, so I'm turning to the friendliest group of americans I "know" (is that enough compliments?)

    First things first: it is next Thursday, right? I gathered that we need to have a turkey. This shouldn't be too much of a problem, since I'm used to cooking turkey for my family xmas dinner. I suppose there may not even be turkeys in the supermarkets over here at this time of year though. Well, I'll have to go and check that out tomorrow! I've also heard that one should have some sort of potatoes, and some vegetables, but am not sure what, really! Are there any specific types of vegetables that are traditional, and are the potatoes supposed to be cooked in a special way (i.e. roasted/mashed/baked..)?

    Dessert may be a bit of a problem. Someone told me that pumpkin pie is a big deal at thanksgiving. Is this correct? That's gonna be rather hard to make!

    Finally, are there any traditional decorations I should be looking at either making or trying to find? I could always do the easy thing and go and put the xmas decorations up early if worst comes to worst! I've also heard that we should watch "football" after dinner-- I'm sure I can dig out a video of an old favourite soccer match :wink:

    Any help anyone can give me will be much appreciated!

    (If this goes to plan I may even have a pic for (what I guess will be) next weeks photon contest :biggrin:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2007
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  3. Nov 13, 2007 #2

    mgb_phys

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    According to the advice given to Daphne in Fasier - it's important to put the potatoes through the blender, that way every mouthfull is exactly the same - it's the American way.

    Sorry can't really help - fellow Brit who lived in America.
    I haven't had pumpkin pie - but Cranberry jelly seems to be a big part of it.
     
  4. Nov 13, 2007 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    First you need to know about the welcoming traditions, since the original celebration involved native Americans, we recognize this by giving "Indian burns" to our guests. You'll want to do this to your gf as soon as she arrives.

    And the pumpkin pie is generally not eaten - you just need to swipe a bit from the dish with your right hand and rub some on the top of your guests' heads while saying "Aten Umau To" ( meaning "I share with you"). Your gf will explain the roots of this tradition afterward. This is a very sentimental gesture with Americans, so do not be surprised if she becomes emotional.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2007
  5. Nov 13, 2007 #4

    Evo

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    We've been discussing Thanksgiving in this thread. https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=197259

    Mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, peas with pearl onions, biscuits, there's a fight over green bean casserole. Cranberry sauce. She either loves the canned jellied kind or whole berry. I'm a canned jellied afficianado.

    Some people serve candied yams (they're actually sweet potatoes), if you have sweet potatoes, that can make a decent substitute if you can't find canned pumpkin, make a sweet potato pie.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2007
  6. Nov 13, 2007 #5

    Evo

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    :rofl: I was just going to go over those traditions, good job MIH!
     
  7. Nov 13, 2007 #6

    Math Is Hard

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    I almost forgot about Cranberry sauce! This is for your neighbors' mailboxes. You want to entirely fill the mailboxes in your neighborhood with the sauce. The red ensures good fortune.
     
  8. Nov 13, 2007 #7

    cristo

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    Sounds delicious!

    Now I know we have cranberry sauce (that is very jelly-like) here, since we have it at xmas dinner, so that's one for the list!

    :rofl::rofl: That's too funny; although I know she'd kick my ass! There's some mutual (English) friends coming too, though, so I might try out the "traditions" on them!
     
  9. Nov 13, 2007 #8

    dlgoff

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    All right! Yes, Thursday. Yes turkey or maybe ham. For sure mashed potatos. Sweetened yams/sweet potatos work well; good substitute for pumpkin pie Canberry sause; a little tartness. Forget the decorations. Oh ya, you need hot bread/rolls. After dinner soccer; with maybe a beer.

    I'm getting hungry already.
     
  10. Nov 13, 2007 #9

    Math Is Hard

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    Hey, I'm here to help! :approve:
     
  11. Nov 13, 2007 #10

    dlgoff

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    Damn you people are fast posters.
     
  12. Nov 13, 2007 #11

    Evo

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    Decorations are a horn of plenty, fall leaves (remove any bugs). You could make some simple pilgrim cut outs from construction paper. If a guy did that for me, :!!)
     
  13. Nov 13, 2007 #12

    cristo

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    :blushing: Oops, sorry, I missed that thread! I'll have a read through.

    That's all gone on the shopping list! Thanks for the advice on the pie, too!

    Looks like yams/sweet potatoes are the common substitute! Mmm, I love bread rolls, so they're definitely gonna be there!

    Thanks guys!
     
  14. Nov 13, 2007 #13

    Kurdt

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    It might be a little more difficult in England stuffing cranberry sauce through the neighbours letter box. Its a little less inconspicuous.
     
  15. Nov 13, 2007 #14

    cristo

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    What's a horn of plenty? Leaves sound do-able, and I can definitely make some cut out pilgrims!
     
  16. Nov 13, 2007 #15

    Evo

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    It's a wicker horn filled with fall vegetables and fruits.

    http://www.propsunlimited.com/pics/Miscellaneous%20Cornocopia.jpg [Broken]

    Might not be common there. Just make some pilgrims.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  17. Nov 13, 2007 #16
  18. Nov 13, 2007 #17

    ZapperZ

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    All of you forgot one important Thanksgiving tradition - the belching, loosening-your-belt-as-you-try-to-sit-down ritual, and dozing off in front of the TV after the meal!

    Shame on you!!

    :)

    Zz.
     
  19. Nov 13, 2007 #18
    And.... remembering from childhood to just last year, most important, wear something very scratchy, stiff, and greatly uncomfortable but festive with a tight waist band so you can hardly wait to git out of it after dinner. Plan to expand.
     
  20. Nov 13, 2007 #19

    Math Is Hard

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    https://df07.dot5hosting.com/~showtime/cart/catalog/images/pilgrim-costume2.jpg

    This fits the bill nicely.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  21. Nov 13, 2007 #20

    turbo

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    Also do not be surprised if you are assaulted.
     
  22. Nov 13, 2007 #21

    turbo

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    There is NO fight over the green bean casserole! This is a nasty dish that is foisted upon the the non-cooking folks by cruel people who should know better. GB casserole is not food - it is a fiction made up from fake onion rings, fake green beans and fake mushroom soup.. The only thing related to culinary arts is the bit of salt and black pepper that might be waved over this travesty in an effort to pretend we are dealing with actual food here.
     
  23. Nov 13, 2007 #22
    Yeah yeah!
    The scratchy tights, the stiff patented leather shoes (WARNING! Don't run in Grandma's house.) Those new shoes are very slippery. The belt needs be a little tight after all we are dainty turkey's. And be sure you get seated between two really scary 200 year old society ladies as you study the sixteen pieces of flatware just knowing your going to pick up the wrong piece first.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  24. Nov 13, 2007 #23

    Moonbear

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    Okay, mostly, you should have turkey (if it's just for two, maybe you can find just a turkey breast to roast instead of cooking up a whole turkey) and some sort of bread stuffing (the recipe for this varies greatly from family to family, so perhaps whatever you make for Christmas stuffing will work too). Usually potatoes are mashed and served with gravy. Vegetables vary from family to family, so whatever the both of you like will work out fine.

    Most people have cranberry sauce too. If you can get fresh or frozen cranberries, you can make a quick sauce by boiling them in a cup of boiling water with a cup of sugar added (cranberries need a lot of sugar added). Otherwise, considering how thoughtful you're being and that ingredients might be difficult to find, I'm sure she'll be okay if you can find cranberry sauce in a can (or even cranberry jelly). There are a lot of other recipes for cranberry sauces with all sorts of things added.

    As for pumpkin pie, that is of course the typical Thanksgiving pie, but some alternatives if you can't get pumpkin or all the ingredients for it would be either apple pie or pecan pie.

    Of course, she might enjoy having a few of your own favorite foods added as side dishes. Once you have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie, the rest of the side dishes are pretty variable.

    My favorite Thanksgiving dinners have departed greatly from the traditional meals I grew up with. It's partly a harvest festival type thing, and partly to celebrate the coming together of two cultures for a successful harvest. So, I've extended that in my own celebrations to include the coming together of many more cultures that have become a part of the US population since then, and invite friends, students, visiting scientists, and anyone else who has no other place to go for the holiday to bring a side dish representing whatever cultural background they identify with while I provide the basics. So, one year, I had a dish of vegetables prepared with some sort of vinegar dressing by a French post-doc, and two visiting scientists from the Netherlands brought a dish with pears in a wine sauce, local friends brought along something made with wild rice and nuts and cranberries, other years I've had scallion pancakes (Chinese), curried dishes, Brazilian dishes, etc.

    I haven't even figured out what I'm doing for the holiday this year. I'm not used to actually having the whole day off from work, and it occurred to me it's only about a week away, so I need to find out who's in town and if there's an extra place setting for me by someone having dinner here, or if there are enough "strays" with no place to go yet to assemble a dinner at my place.
     
  25. Nov 13, 2007 #24

    cristo

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    I'm afraid I'll have to do the whole turkey as I'll be cooking for eight in total (although my girlfriend's the only American, so I've only got one person with expectations!) I normally have pork, sage and onion stuffing at Christmas, but I think I'll check with her what she prefers, ditto for the cranberry sauce.

    I love apple pie; I think we've found a winner here!
    This is also a great idea. I could pass off some of the work onto the guests! I might try adding a few of my favourite side dishes in too. For example, one thing we have a Christmas dinner, yorkshire puddings apparently do not exist in America (so she says!)

    I'm sure if you make an offer to host, it'll be snapped up by many!

    Well, I've never heard or seen one, so I'd say it will be pretty hard to find one in a week. I'll make some pilgrims, and do something with candles, I reckon. Thanks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  26. Nov 13, 2007 #25

    ~christina~

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    Below is a quote from that website that you had a link to
    "sizzling hot fat"...how..tasty..just how high does their cholesterol level go after this cooking with sizzling hot fat?:eek:

    um..I've never seen anyone actually do that unless they were in grade school...:rolleyes:
    however if an adult did that it'll probably be taken as cute.
     
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