As half of being an Exchange Student is sharing your Culture with your Host Country, I took November 22nd as a prime opportunity to do so. With the entirety of my family celebrating Thanksgiving together in the States, I decided to make my own celebration. In the middle of November, I began finding recipes, making grocery Lists, and enlisting the help of my Friends and Host Family.
I searched the internet for hours for recipes that were similar to the ones commonly used by my family, but were a vegan adaptation. I have written about being vegetarian on my blog before, but I also have a strong interest in going vegan and plans to make the transition once my exchange year is over. Since I want to major and work in environmental engineering/protection and am an animal rights activist, I would be a hypocrite if I wasn’t vegan. In any case, I wanted to show my host family and friends what a traditional Thanksgiving for my family looks like. I was delighted at how much interest they had in Thanksgiving and how many questions they asked about the history, traditions, and concept of Thanksgiving.
It took a while, but I eventually settled on these recipes:
Eine Vegetarische und Deutsch Anpassung
Rosenkohl mit Preiselbeeren (Cranberries)
Stuffing with Chestnuts
-A recipe from my father, who makes it the best
-A recipe from my mother. I could never find a recipe for carrots this good
Curry Pumpkin Soup
Vodka Soaked Preiselbeeren (cranberries)
The shopping list for this one meal was enormous and took three days of shopping to complete. This photo is just one day’s worth of shopping:
I remember sitting in the car after this particular shopping trip and realizing that I actually had to cook all of this food. I won’t lie, I felt intimidated. Usually this monumental task was left to my mother, who has the power and patience of true angel, but this year this task was all down to me. I also had school the entire week, so all of my Thanksgiving efforts would have to be after school and boxing. Along the way, some recipes were altered or even cut from the menu, both because I didn’t have enough time and couldn’t find the correct ingredients. Some recipes didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked, but I took solace in the fact that my guests, four Germans, a Swede, a Brazilian, and a Czech, wouldn’t know the difference.
I broke up my cooking efforts into two days in order to get it all done.
Recipes done the day before:
Brussel sprouts: washed, cut, and prepared for roasting. Sweet potato casserole: potatoes peeled, cut, and blended. Pumpkin pie: completely baked (I was not happy with the pie, the ingredients weren’t completely correct and took on a flavour unlike any pumpkin pie I’ve ever had).
THE FINISHED PRODUCT
I was cooking literally until all the guests were there and we were ready to eat. We sat down together, barely all fitting at the table, and said what we were grateful for. It really made me feel at home.
A huge thank you to the people who helped me buy the groceries, set the table, cook the food, and sat down with me at a unique Thanksgiving I will never forget.