An American in Scotland: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: a perfectly carved turkey, fiery orange mashed sweet potatoes, professionally decorated pies, a lace tablecloth and a spotless kitchen.  All this is well and good, but my Thanksgivings have certainly never been like that. At most Thanksgivings, my family talks about a time when the turkey wasn’t cooking, so they chucked in the microwave for a bit.

Thanksgiving for me is not about fancy table settings and gourmet food.  It’s about eating so much that you, your friends and all your family have to change into looser fitting clothes. It is in this spirit that I’ve decided to host my own Thanksgiving this Thursday.

After a painstaking bout of homesickness, shared by my fellow American freshers in hall at this time last year, I’ve elected to surround myself with lots of people and masses of food.  The plan is to invite a lot of friends, make them bring wine and side dishes, cook a turkey and wear stretchy trousers.

My enthusiasm shone through last week at the butcher’s, when I ordered a seven-and-a-half-kilogram bird, inspiring an excited chat with my flatmate about the menu.  Our conversation went down the route of: we’re cooking the turkey, so we might as well make a stuffing.  There are vegetarians coming, so we should make a stuffing for them too.  Well, we don’t want to skip tradition, so we’ll also make a sausage one.  Oh, and we have to have cranberry sauce.  And since we like brussel sprouts, we’ll cook some of those as well.

However, I began to realise that we are missing a few things I take for granted at home: two large ovens, a full-size fridge and five full days off to cook and eat leisurely.  I began to panic when I realise I have a temperamental oven, a crowded fridge, three lectures, a tutorial and a looming deadline next Thursday.  Then I remembered the microwave story.  This is one story any holiday cook should carry with them. 

I’ve decided to not let my end-of-semester budget and student flat kitchen become obstacles to the feast.  With each one of my friends bringing a dish big enough to feed fifteen people, there will definitely be enough food. Every surface of our living room and kitchen will be covered with potatoes, gravy, cranberries and pies!  No doubt, we’ll all be in food comas by the end of the night.  It probably won’t be glamorous, but it’ll certainly be tasty. 

Photos courtesy of SaltyCotton and Christian Montone.