Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Saturday

I used to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday (like every other American), but ever since I moved to the Netherlands, I have celebrated on the weekend that follows. Not a year has gone by without me honoring this American tradition and it is something I hope my daughter Kirstie will also carry on doing, even though she is more Dutch than she is American.
I have lots of fond memories of the Thanksgivings I spent back in New Jersey. My dad wasn't the best of cooks, but he could make a turkey (a huge one of about 10 kilos, mind you!) like no other. The night before, the turkey would be set on a bed of finely chopped vegetables, bathed in beer, tented with foil and put in the fridge until Thanksgiving day. We would all get up early. My dad, brother and I would cross the Lincoln Tunnel into New York City and go watch the Macy's Parade while my mom stayed home and made sure the turkey went into the oven on time.
How I loved that parade! The ballons, the acts, the music and Santa Claus at the end. One of the most memorable years was 1989. I was 11 years old and my heart melted when Jordan Knight of the New Kids on the Block sang to me. Well, at least that's what it felt like! Another year it was so cold, that by the end of the parade, I was convinced I had frozen. I don't know how I walked after that because my feet felt like two huge ice bricks! The best part of course, was coming home after the parade to the delightful aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven. Sweet, sweet memories.
My first Dutch Thanksgiving was at my mother-in-law's house. I had been living in Drenthe for a mere one-and-a-half months and had no idea where to find all my ingredients, much less cook! It was a very small feast (with no turkey), yet it was unforgettable because it was the first Thanksgiving I spent with my husband (who at the time, was my boyfriend). Every year thereafter, I became more kitchen savy and it wasn't that long before I could cook a meal that could be called the perfect Thanksgiving feast: a big, fat roast turkey, stuffing with sausage and sage, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie for dessert.
This Saturday I celebrated my 15th Thanksgiving in the Netherlands, with my own little family, my best friend and Kirstie's friend Eva. It's hard to believe that fifteen years have gone by since my last American Thanksgiving in New Jersey. This past Thursday, I got a little choked up thinking about that. Logical. Yet I have so much to be grateful for. I am a happy, happy girl!