A great American tradition: Thanksgiving

As we all know, yesterday was Thanksgiving. And so to mark the occasion and to wish all of my beautiful family state side an amazing day (yesterday), I thought I would share with you a few words about my Thanksgiving experience last year….

But before I do, I just want to let it be known that I’m going to politely bypass the massive elephant in the room that sits there so quietly when celebrations and happy holiday wishes are exchanged – you know, Pilgrims and Indians sharing in thanks for the hospitality shown from the latter, only for them to have the gesture returned by having their land and people savagely taken over – that big elephant!

No, instead I’m going to focus on what this holiday represents to people now. Which, over time, has become a holiday based on family and friends all joining together, to laugh, to talk, to eat (a lot), drink and of course, be merry. Perhaps now, after so many years, and with grudges finally at bay, this is not a bad angle from which to approach this particular holiday from.

People often moan and grumble saying that holidays are all a big retailers con nowadays, and to an extent that is true. But, as I always respond to comments like this, isn’t it just nice to have a time of year where loved ones can all get together and have fun. Instead of being miserable, why not just smile and enjoy yourself instead. It’s up to you how much money you want to spend, that’s really not the point of it – the point is the time spent together. That’s what I love most about holidays.

And I had my first taste of a new holiday last year.

After spending a month on the road driving around from place to place, we (myself and Lisa), would end the trip with a few days, at that house that I love so much in Lakeland Florida, with my family, and join them for the most American of traditions. I figured this would be the one holiday I wouldn’t need any preping for; Like to eat food? Check. Like to drink? Check. I had this holiday totally sorted!

What’s nice about Thanksgiving is that it marks the start of the holiday season in America. Once the fourth Thursday of November has been struck that’s it, all holiday spirit breaks loose! Festive home baking, decorating and handcraft creations go into over drive throughout the homes of all the holiday lovers. If I lived in America, this would include me. Me and my family are the biggest Christmas geeks around and if you were to add Thanksgiving into the mix I think our heads would explode from all the excitement and merriment.

So here I found myself within the midst of it all. On this particular year my family had decided to hold an all out feast at my cousins house, the invites spreading out to well over 30 people. There were family relations of family relations, friends of friends, all choosing to share their Thanksgiving together.

And what a feast it was! Everyone brought a dish of some kind, be it a meat or a side or a dessert, the food just kept flowing. There was Turkey, yams, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, cranberries, all types of vegetable dishes and pastas, and all kinds of strange new dishes I had never heard of before. For dessert there was pie, lots and lots of pie, chocolate cake, cobbler, and what turned out to be my absolute favourite….pumpkin cheesecake! Geez I could’ve eaten the whole damn thing.

Everything all homemade I might add.

And what did me and Lisa choose to bring to the table? Of course, it had to be the most English and yummiest of treats, the great Yorkshire Pudding! …….or so we had hoped.

You see, the way milk is marked in the US is slightly different to the way we mark our milk. They don’t have skimmed, semi-skimmed or full fat milk. And sadly I learnt the hard way that their ‘half n half’ milk doesn’t mean half fat. No, what it actually means is half milk and half CREAM!! Gahhh!! Can you imagine how these yorkshire puddings turned out; heavy, dense, block like boulders came out of that oven, and too late to boot! By the time they were ‘ready’ people had left the table and were casually enjoying drinks and good chats. Not to worry, with the help of my aunt, we walked around to every person there, dishing out a yorkshire pudding with gravy. For the majority this was their first tasting experience of a yorkshire pud, and I don’t know if they were just being polite or whether they meant it, but for the most part people seemed to really enjoy those doughy little cakes.

As the evening drew on, so did the cold. So we got a nice fire burning in the garden, and we all huddled around sat on hay stacks, listening to music and sharing funny stories.

My uncle had made me a few of his speciality gin and tonics by this point – crap loads of gin and a pinch of tonic I think is his remedy – so I was feeling, warm and happy and cosy. Spending this day with my uncle, aunt and cousins really just absolutely finished this trip off with a big giant cherry on top of an already amazing time.

I had a message from my cousin yesterday saying they were missing me this Thanksgiving. Right backatcha guys x x x

Okay I know this is a day late – I started writing it yesterday but only managed to finish it this morning. I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving yesterday 🙂 

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