Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I knew that I had to find a way to celebrate this year. I have never hosted before, but it seemed like a good opportunity to rise to the challenge. The only problem is that one of my life goals is to never be responsible for making a turkey. The thought of it sends my anxiety level through the roof! I confessed this goal / fear to those I invited, but it wasn’t working out for anyone else to make the turkey either.
Now, in the States, I could easily order a turkey from Honey Baked Ham or another place without any problem. But in Switzerland, turkey isn’t a common protein source. In fact, you have to special order a turkey for Thanksgiving. This also requires measuring the very small oven to make sure you order a bird that will fit. You cannot imagine how thrilled I was when an expat friend gave me the contact information of the butcher who was preparing all of the turkeys for the large American Thanksgiving celebration last weekend. I went to see him two weeks ago explaining that I am an American and that I needed a turkey. Then I went a step further asking if he could prepare it and carve it for me. He said YES! All of that happened in French, so today, I went back with fingers and toes crossed hoping that I communicated my wish well. As you can see, I did! It may have cost 138 CHF, but it was totally worth to me!
He even sent it home in a real dish! I cannot even explain how happy I was!
With the turkey taken care of, I had decorate and figure out how to accommodate 23 adults, 4 kids, and a baby in my place for a meal. Since several colleagues have either visited the US recently or come over from the US for meetings, I had a few helpers to bring things over. Plus, my sweet mama sent me fun Turkey napkins and a Thanksgiving table cloth that could be colored! And a friend donated the pumpkins & gourds his family used during some parties of their own in the past month. I borrowed some tables from friends, and I bought (and built) a kids table. While it doesn’t rival the red, white, and blue decor of the 4th of July party, I think it looked pretty festive.
[As you can see, this table cloth was a huge hit!]
We all know the best part of Thanksgiving is the food, and that was no exception tonight. Everyone brought something to share, and we had quite the line up!
- Mashed Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Artichoke & Zucchini Casserole
- Broccoli Casserole
- German Dark Bread
- Brussel Sprouts w/ Bacon
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Cranberry Sauce
- Deviled Eggs
- Pumpkin Spice Muffins
- Pumpkin Pie
- Carrot Cake
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gooey Butter Cake
It was kind of like a game of Tetrus figuring out how to fit it all on the counter with limited space, but we did it! And it was DELICIOUS! (Sorry for the blurry photos.)
It was my first time making pumpkin pie and carrot cake, but I think both turned out well.
So many wonderful people came over to celebrate. Tonight was such a good reminder that these relationships are one of the biggest reasons to be thankful while living in Switzerland.
[I’m pretty sure these four became new best friends during the course of the evening. They are the same ages, and they played so well together. My favorite line of the night was when one of them told me, “You are a very nice woman.” Priceless.]
[You know your kids live in Europe when they toast one another without prompting.]
[My favorite part about the evening…friends hanging out, laughing, and watching college football!]
[We both forgot to eat a deviled egg with our meal, but no worries…we found some in the fridge after dessert!]
After two days in the kitchen, my legs are aching. Props to my grandmas, mom, and aunts who have hosted in the past! It’s a lot of work, but well worth it. While I missed being away from my family this year, my Swiss family did a stellar job filling that void. I am grateful!