Woot, woot! It’s Thanksgiving, MY holiday. I LOVE this feast because it includes everyone; Muslims, Jews, Hindi, and my personal favorite None of the Aboves, this is a festival for anyone who is thankful for all that they have in their lives, a great habit to start, because when faced with the most dire situations, gratitude can save us. And yes, I admit, I love this celebration because I’m a glutton.
I’ve lived out of the US for most of my adult life, and no matter where my wanderings take me, I always set aside this day to give a feast for family and friends, sharing the idea of thankfulness with the world. For the last ten years, I’ve been sharing from Paris.
This year was nearly a disaster. I was convinced that Thanksgiving was the last Thursday of the month, which is the 29th. Friends from Montréal will be in town and I was trying to get them all worked up for the big day when I got an email.
“We were just in Champlain, NY this weekend and all the posters mention Thanksgiving on the 22nd. Sorry, but it looks like your kitchen slaves will still be in Canada, ay?”
I went into utter panic. Not only would I be less two slaves, but I had to notify our guests that the date had changed and order the bird!!!!
The bird. The thing about Thanksgiving, is that it requires a turkey. Paris kitchens tend to be tiny, with tiny ovens. Not exactly the ideal conditions for cooking a big bird. My first year here I was desperate for a solution when I passed the Rotisserie stall at the Richard Lenoir Thursday market. A few dozen light bulbs went off in my head, making me dizzy, but also giving me an idea. Perhaps Mr Roti could roast my bird. A quick conversation later and I learned that not only would he be happy to do it, but he was already doing it for several other yankees. I ordered the bird, put down my deposit and I was set. He didn’t even ask for a birth certificate or a proof of domicile. It was so easy, it was almost like not being in Paris. I was thankful already!!!
This year M Fontaine, my butcher on the rue de Sevres had agreed to spin my bird on his rotisserie, throwing in a delicious wild mushroom stuffing and roasted chestnuts to the bargain. I called in a desperate panic. His wife answered and assured me it was not too late to change the date. “What is your name again, Madame?” “Madame French,” I could hear him yelling at her in the background. I am not the only American who gets her bird from M Fontaine, but apparently I am the only one who would mis-order and call hysterically on a Sunday afternoon.
What else will be eating tonight? Mashed potatoes with about a litre of cream, Bordier butter and wild mushroom gravy, Green Giant canned corn, corn bread, my special cranberry sauce, green beans with pine nuts, and pumpkin pie with home made whipped cream. Bon Ap’ everyone. And remember to be thankful!!!