The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

I am, much to the amusement of those who know me well, a huge Yankophile. I think my passion began aged ten when I first discovered the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Growing up, I lived in small village and one of my first acts of independence was going on the only bus of the day to the market town of Thirsk to be met by my (much missed) Gran. Before going to her bungalow for lunch we would visit the small bookshop with the basket of secondhand books outside the front door. It was here that I purchased my first 'Little House' book. Over the summer holidays and using my meagre pocket money I was able to collect the whole series. These books became my comfort blanket. Whenever I felt lost I was able to escape to the plains and be part of a world where Pa kept danger outside the cabin and even in times of hardship Ma put food on the table.

I know that these books are an institution in America but most people here are only familiar with them through the (not so great) TV series. At the time, I pledged that if I had a family I would raise them the Ingalls way and now, when life gets too complicated, I reaffirm that pledge to myself.

Since my first taste of the Prairie, my love for the great US of A has only grown. The housemate thinks this is hilarious and yells at me to stand every time 'The Star Spangled Banner' is played. The Bedmate finds it a little less amusing, but this could be due to the fact that I might have (once or twice) mentioned that I would quite like to marry a Senator.

Anyway, I was at my American History evening class (I know, I know) in September and I decided that it would be a great idea to have a Thanksgiving Dinner for a few friends. Due to scheduling problems we had it, a week and 2 days late, on Saturday night. Wow. After the initial embarrassment of explaining to the Housemate's invitees that, no I don't have any American relatives and yes, I do know that it is slightly odd to celebrate Thanksgiving considering I was born and raised this side of the Atlantic, the evening was a huge success.

We started with Shrimp Cocktail (anyone calling it prawn cocktail was quickly corrected - prawn cocktail is a slightly naf 1970s dinner party staple whereas shrimp cocktail is an acceptably American sounding starter) with Autumn leaf Melba toast (ha ha - what fun!).

For the main course we went all out:

Roast Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Giblet Stock Gravy
Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing
Biscuits ( a few sceptical looks here - why was I serving scones with the main course?)
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows (again, general bemusement but the cynics quietened on tasting)

It was a struggle for me to cook a roast dinner without Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes but I was striving for authenticity so they just didn't make the cut. For pudding it was Pumpkin Pie (how could it not be?) and Chocolate Pecan Pie.

Unfortunately I still haven't told people that I am writing this blog so it was difficult for me to take many photos of the food. It's bad enough being the America-obsessive for the evening without being the crazy girl who photographs her food too. Sadly I didn't get any photos of the table either although I did have a lot of fun decorating it with my munchkin gourds and Indian Corn (smuggled through customs on the way back from New York).

It seems slightly redundant posting Thanksgiving recipes when there are so many excellent American food blogs available. So rather than take coals to Newcastle I will leave you with the picture round quiz we created for people to complete while waiting for the main course to be served. First person to send all the correct answers gets my final can of pureed pumpkin.


No comments: