Thanksgiving is an important holiday in America, but in Scotland, Thanksgiving is just another Thursday in November. My American friends and I weren’t willing to let Thanksgiving pass by on our November calendars, and we planned some fine dining and family-style meals.
On the actual day of Thanksgiving [it was Thursday November 22nd this year, for all you Scots and Brits], a group of my Georgetown friends gathered in a beautiful flat in Parliament Square on the Royal Mile that the parents’ of one of the Georgetown girls, Kippy, had rented for their week-long visit to Scotland. Kippy’s parents generously invited us to join them for Thanksgiving and be surrounded by family and friends on this day which we have always spent in the U.S. with lots of extended family, delicious homemade food, football, family debates, and more. I had a nice time at the feast prepared by Kippy’s family, and I have to say that my favorite dish was Kippy’s mom’s sweet potato casserole that had a pecan topping. It was so tasty!
Another group of my friends from Georgetown and Penn made our own homemade Thanksgiving feast on Saturday November 24th. It was super fun to make dishes for this ‘pot luck’ Thanksgiving, and I thought it was truly awesome that the boys were leading the planning of this; one of the boys’ parents had sent a refrigerated, uncooked turkey to him, and the boys showed such excitement about putting this Thanksgiving meal together. As you can see from the picture, some of us even dressed up like pilgrims and indians for the occasion!
Everyone made one, two, or three dishes, and it turned out we had a FEAST! Our meal included a huge turkey, stuffing, vegetable stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with a marshmallow topping, steamed corn, steamed green beans, a mixed salad with avocado, cranberry chutney sauce, cornbread, homemade pumpkin bread with raisins (one of my creations!), and delicious homemade dinner rolls. Quite a feast, right?
The group of us Americans held hands, said grace, and gave thanks for our family and friends before digging into our extravagant meal. We shared wine and cider, and lots of laughs, as we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner.
After dinner, we quizzed each other on Thanksgiving trivia like the best practice of planting corn (that is, surrounding corn with fish to fertilize the soil–a practice that Squanto and other Native Americans taught the pilgrims), and we ignited debates about the first Thanksgiving (like whether or not the pilgrims had dogs as the time; some of us argued that unlike how the event is portrayed in paintings, pilgrims wouldn’t have had dogs because the pilgrims would have eaten them long before the first Thanksgiving– because the pilgrims had been starving without the help of good ole Squanto and the Natives). I had a lot of fun with my group of friends, and this feast was a GREAT way to celebrate Thanksgiving while in Scotland.
After conversations, debates, and laughs, we enjoyed numerous homemade desserts! The treats that my friends and I had made included apple crisp, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pumpkin whoopie pies, and mini pumpkin cheesecakes. Not a bad selection, eh? We also made homemade whipped cream for our tasty desserts! Rachel did a great job ‘whipping up’ that treat!
Although this was the first year that I missed the ‘Gallagher Thanksgiving’ (at which we always have between 20-30 relatives) and I treasure my family’s NJ and NY Thanksgiving traditions of eating scrumptious food and spending time with my cousins, I’m happy to say that my Thanksgiving celebrations this year were great alternatives for my semester abroad in Edinburgh!!