When we were gearing up to move to Oxford, I had a timeline in my head of when I’d start getting homesick. It was right around Thanksgiving. I imagined sitting in my apartment eating something not usually found on the Thanksgiving table like steak and ale pie instead of turkey, and FaceTiming with everyone back at home wishing I was there to clink my glass with them in person. But the day has finally come and so far, so good!
We actually hosted our first Thanksgiving on Saturday. Our sweet neighbors Aleks and Greg embraced the tradition with us and I think it will be one of our most memorable days this year. It was quite a process getting everything we needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in Oxford. I had to make a few trips to different grocery stores and place an online order to ensure we could get everything. And we still had to improvise on some things (Stove-Top is not a staple in the UK apparently….)
Even though we were in another country, we managed to keep most of the tradition associated with Thanksgiving:
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — I found last year’s entire episode on YouTube so I played it while we prepared the food that morning.
Turkey — I don’t remember turkeys being this inexpensive in America. Most of the ones I found here were around £40 ($63) but I managed to find a small frozen turkey for £12 ($19) that was the perfect size for four of us. Christopher did an excellent job roasting it!
Sides — I had to buy imported French’s onions to make the green bean casserole, but I’m happy to say it turned out exactly how it does back home. The stuffing was a little harder. We used actual bread mixed with seasoning but it turned out pretty good. We also made sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and those delicious Red Lobster biscuits.
Pumpkin Pie — We gave Greg and Aleks Christopher’s mom’s recipe and they made the most beautiful one complete with homemade whipped cream (because Cool Whip doesn’t exist here.)
Pre-Dinner Cocktails — Champagne + cranberry juice = yummy and easy Thanksgiving drinks.
A feast of food — After five hours of cooking, we were finally ready to serve this enormous amount of calories (I never knew how many sticks of butter Thanksgiving dinner actually required!) We used family recipes from both sides and one from our friend Ashley who cooked for us last year. It had a representation of everything and everyone we loved.
The Game — Instead of watching football, we played a board game where you compete to explore different countries for natives and gold. I’d say it was a very appropriate theme for this holiday. (PS- I won!)
While I’m bummed I don’t get to be in America for this awesome holiday, I’m so happy we got to celebrate it properly. When we all went around the table to say what we were thankful for (because of course I made everyone do that), I shouted out to our new friends Aleks and Greg. I know this year wouldn’t be the same without them.
Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you! Hope you have a perfect day. We’ll be there next year. XOXO