Hello
Guest

Sponsored Links


Topic: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK  (Read 7277 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 13328

  • Officially a Brit.
  • Liked: 2
  • Joined: Mar 2004
  • Location: Maryland
How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« on: May 15, 2007, 12:05:46 PM »
Don't ask me why I thought I'd do this in the middle of May, but it seemed like a good idea!

So many Americans I know really miss some aspect of Thanksgiving when they are living in the UK. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas for how to bring a little bit of the US to you here in the UK come November.

First of all, be prepared to be flexible. You won't necessarily be able to find the exact same ingredients as you are used to at home. It can be very easy to get frustrated about this but I choose to make this an opportunity to create new traditions. If you think about it, every family has their own T-day traditions and there are also loads of great (US) regional variations. It's entirely possible you'd change some things if you married and moved from the east coast to California, so changing things here is just part of the natural process.

The other thing you may have to do is explain what the heck Thanksgiving is to your British friends and family!! Despite lots of exposure to it through movies and TV, I can't tell you how many Brits I know who don't know what it is. They think we do it instead of Christmas, or it IS Christmas with a different name! I usually tell them a bit of about the pilgrims supper but then explain that Lincoln actually made it a national holiday. See this link for details:

http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm

I also explain that it's the biggest holiday of the year and that what I like about it is that it's a holiday for everyone of every race and religion.

If you decide to invite people over for dinner, bear in mind that having it on the actual Thanksgiving Thursday might be hard. As it's not a holiday here, people will be working so will be less inclined to go out on a Thursday evening. We always do it the Saturday after.

But on to the really important stuff: Food!

Turkey You can get turkey here no problem but you might have hard time finding it in November, especially if you live in a small town where the supermarket doesn't have the room to keep it on hand all year. I personally am not a huge fan of turkey so I always buy chicken(s) instead. I've also considered ordering a turkey from a local butcher but haven't because we've never had a huge gathering. You'd need to give your butcher a week or 2 notice.

Pumpkin If you live near a Waitrose, you might be lucky and have one that stocks cans of pumpkin. If not, you'll need to do one of several things: have someone send it to you from the US (expensive), bring it with you when you visit home (a good option if you can remember to do it!), buy it from an online company specializing in US goods (expensive), or make it from scratch with fresh pumpkin. There are some threads on here about how to do that that I will link to in my next post.

Cranberry Sauce Ocean Spray sell a jar of cranberry sauce here that will do the trick for you if you don't make your own. If you do make your own, I've had no problem finding fresh cranberries in November in the supermarkets.

Green Bean Casserole I use fresh green beans. I've had no problem finding Campbell's condensed mushroom soup but have also used Heinz creamy mushroom soup as an alternative. I think I thickened it up with a bit of flour and butter though. You CAN find the crispy fried onions. I'll post back here with a link to what they look like but I'm pretty sure that most of the supermarkets are carrying them now.

Sweet Potatoes I've yet to see canned sweet potatoes here so if you have to have them, you'll have to make them from fresh which is pretty easy. I'm not a huge fan of the marshmallows on them (mine have a coconut, pecan and brown sugar topping). You will find that UK marshmallows are a slightly different texture than US ones and they will melt and brown a bit differently than the ones in the US.

Stuffing While I like Stove Top, it's never been something we ate for Thanksgiving because my Grandma always made it and now I use her recipe. Like canned pumpkin, Stove Top is something you will have to source from home or online, or you'll need to find a recipe you like. Oh, there are some British stuffing mixes. I find them dreadful but you may find them a perfectly good product!

I think that covers all the common traditional items you might be looking for. In my next posts, I'll link to some threads that discuss cooking the meal, recipes and other ideas.

One other note, in the last few years I've also found it very easy to find small pumpkins and little gourds for decorating the table. If you think to do it, getting some decorations from home is pretty cheap and easy to do too.

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. ~ John Lennon


  • *
  • Posts: 2605

  • taking over birmingham one by one...
  • Liked: 1
  • Joined: Apr 2005
  • Location: birmingham, uk
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2007, 12:07:54 PM »
well done  :)
it's not where you're born, it's where you belong

-U2, 'summer rain'


Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2007, 03:28:38 PM »
Also the monthly U.S. Embassy e-mail newsletter in November will have details of all Thanksgiving related events in London (and sometimes other areas of the U.K.). 


Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2007, 04:43:41 PM »
Great post! :)


  • *
  • Posts: 562

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Sep 2009
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 01:47:23 PM »
Paxo sage and onion is a good stuffing (just mix with water and bake if you want).

But you can get stove top stuffing from Garson's Farm in Esher, Surrey and Waitrose supermarkets do Libby's tinned pumpkin :)



  • *
  • Posts: 164

    • Oodles by Stephoodle
  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Mar 2009
  • Location: Newport Pagnell, UK
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2009, 11:22:03 AM »
Let's Eat! in Milton Keynes does both Stove Top Stuffing and Libby's canned pumpkin (got some yesterday! Though if I'd known Waitrose had it, I would have gone there..haha)... they also have the cranberry sauce that comes out in the shape of the can... but since my husband was a bit grossed out by the idea, we got a jar of it at the Coop.

I think my next hurdle is finding the right size pie pan for pumpkin pie!
Oodles by Stephoodle:
Blog and Etsy Shop


  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 6345

  • Tis Me!
    • My Family Photos
  • Liked: 2
  • Joined: Jun 2005
  • Location: Isle of Man
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2009, 12:47:32 PM »
Let's Eat! in Milton Keynes does both Stove Top Stuffing and Libby's canned pumpkin (got some yesterday! Though if I'd known Waitrose had it, I would have gone there..haha)... they also have the cranberry sauce that comes out in the shape of the can... but since my husband was a bit grossed out by the idea, we got a jar of it at the Coop.

I think my next hurdle is finding the right size pie pan for pumpkin pie!

Some stores sell glass pyrex pie baking dishes and these are the same as in the US, which is what I always use to make my pies in. I made both pecan and pumpkin last night.





  • *
  • Posts: 2681

  • Mummy of Jean Kathleen and Thomas Patrick
  • Liked: 1
  • Joined: Sep 2004
  • Location: Coventry, West Midlands
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2009, 03:19:27 PM »
Cranberry sauce with the ridges from the can on! Oh sweet nostalgia!
Maroon Passport Club!


  • *
  • Posts: 13025

  • Liked: 3
  • Joined: Oct 2005
  • Location: Washington DC
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2009, 03:29:12 PM »
Some stores sell glass pyrex pie baking dishes and these are the same as in the US, which is what I always use to make my pies in. I made both pecan and pumpkin last night.



I bought my lovely red ceramic pie plate at Lakeland. Nicer than most I've seen in the US!


  • *
  • Posts: 562

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Sep 2009
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2009, 03:58:15 PM »
Cranberry sauce with the ridges from the can on! Oh sweet nostalgia!

Yep LOL My mum used to slice it, too LOL


  • *
  • Posts: 11

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Sep 2011
  • Location: Watford
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 09:54:10 PM »
Just as an update (I see that this is an old thread), there are quite a few American foods, including a Thanksgiving section, at the online grocery store Ocado.  They have Libby's canned pumpkin, Stove Top stuffing, root beer, proper marshmallows and (best of all) real egg nog!  Plus loads more American foods. 

Thought I'd share, since it makes me very happy--just go to the main Ocado page and click 'seasonal' :)

http://www.ocado.com/webshop/startWebshop.do [nofollow]



  • *
  • Posts: 3371

  • Liked: 414
  • Joined: Feb 2012
  • Location: Clydebank
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 06:19:03 AM »
Interesting!
I don't do Thanksgiving Day, but I *do* do eggnog!  Need to try to get some this year... don't think HB has ever had it before.


  • *
  • Posts: 2135

  • Liked: 1
  • Joined: Jul 2008
  • Location: London
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 09:20:20 AM »
Boo. £40 minimum order for ocado? I don't need that much food at once! I'm going to see if the big Waitrose has some of these products instead. I already found Libby's at Whole Foods and ready crust at Morrisons and Sainos. I don't have a regular pie pan (just the French-style tart/quiche ones) but never mind.
"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it." -Eat Pray Love

beth@medivisas.com
medivisas.com


  • *
  • Posts: 3371

  • Liked: 414
  • Joined: Feb 2012
  • Location: Clydebank
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 09:29:00 AM »
Sod that.
They might do real egg nog in Whole Foods... i never bothered to look last year (when I was working there!), or I could probably work out how to make my own if I was desperate.
I've lived without it for the last 20+ years, so I'm sure I'll cope.  And anyway, it's mainly the brandy/rum I'm interested in anyway!


  • *
  • Posts: 24035

    • Snaps
  • Liked: 5
  • Joined: Jan 2005
  • Location: Cornwall
Re: How to have Thanksgiving in the UK
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 09:48:41 AM »
Sod that.
They might do real egg nog in Whole Foods... i never bothered to look last year (when I was working there!), or I could probably work out how to make my own if I was desperate.
I've lived without it for the last 20+ years, so I'm sure I'll cope.  And anyway, it's mainly the brandy/rum I'm interested in anyway!

I made it a couple of years ago and everyone seemed to really like it! I've sort of gone off the nog, truth be told, but I did have a bit and it was lovely!
My Project 365 photo blog: Snaps!


Sponsored Links





 

coloured_drab