Turkey Day having come and gone, I feel it my blogging duty to recapitulate my French experience of this most American of holidays.
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, I caught the TER down to Valenciennes, about 40 minutes away by the slower, regional train, where a group of American assistants had organized a weekend-long turkey day bash, complete with a big dinner, games, and a night full of dancing.
The afternoon began tamely enough, with an impressive spread of chicken (a necessary substitute as in France, turkey isn’t kept in stock year-round; here, it’s more of a Christmas specialty), garlic mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, candied sweet potatoes (scrumptious), multiple salads, green bean casserole (with homemade fried onions), a Spanish corn tortilla dish (delicious), and for dessert, chocolate cake, apple crumble, and cheesecake.
As the French guests politely nibbled at their first plates, the American assistants gobbled down firsts, and promptly hopped up for seconds, much to the astonishment of a few party-goers.
The evening wore on, and without a Thanksgiving Day parade or football game to distract us, we sat, slumped over and comatose, as the other guests bustled about, going out for walks, cleaning up house, and even, preparing dinner (a shocking and confusing concept to most Americans, including myself, whose Thanksgiving dinners consist of fridge-grazing and third pieces of pumpkin pie).
As darkness fell, more guests arrived, and the festivities really took off. Music was put on, and quite soon we had a full-on ragin’ Franglais house party, complete with American and French kids dancing and singing along to a variety of American pop songs.
All in all, a lovely, memorable turkey-less turkey day.