crabs in a sink

Image and text by Gabrielle.

The whole family was feeling a little melancholy earlier this week, because we’d been reminiscing about our Thanksgivings in France and we are all aware they were memorable and maybe even a little extraordinary. There’s something really sweet about being Americans and enjoying an American holiday with your family in a place where no one else is celebrating (we’d even have to pull the kids out of school!).

The hunt for ingredients was an adventure — cranberries are like a rare American delicacy in France, and corn is only grown for farm animals! And the meals were especially delicious because the food was as fresh as possible (whole turkeys aren’t sold in France until mid-December, so our turkey was specially ordered from a local farm and butchered the day before), we were forced to improvise which made things fun (traditional pie pans are not widely available in France), and we had no choice but to make everything from scratch (no canned pumpkin anywhere).

With school the next day instead of a Black Friday rush, it really kept the focus of the holiday on family, and we loved it!

But our melancholy attitude changed this past Monday night. In an effort to get a tiny head start on preparations, Ben Blair and I started our Thanksgiving grocery errands late that night. As we hit food display after food display I couldn’t help but grin. There were hundreds of bags of fresh cranberries, and dozens of options of already prepared cranberries. There was a whole section dedicated to stuffing vegetables — even cartons of freshly chopped onions and celery (just add croutons!). In the meat department, there were turkeys as far as the eye could see. There were baking displays dedicated only to pies. And there were giant cardboard cartons of pretty pumpkins and gourds in every shade of orange and dusty green to use as both food and centerpieces. And corn. We didn’t have to think twice about if there would be corn. There’s always corn in America.

I kept getting such a kick out of looking at our cart — the contents were so obviously a classic Thanksgiving dinner. And all of a sudden, all traces of melancholy were gone, and I couldn’t wait to get home to stock the refrigerator and show the kids our bounty.

Thanksgiving in America! We’re home. And I’m so thankful to be here.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

P.S. — One thing we love about moving to a new place is learning about local traditions and adopting them where possible. Since crabbing season starts in November, we heard that serving crab for Thanksgiving is common here in the Bay Area. Yesterday, our kids were on an Olive Us shoot out in the ocean, and brought home enough bounty to add to our Thanksgiving feast (see photo at top), plus plenty to share with friends! Are there any out-of-the-ordinary Thanksgiving food traditions where you live?