Bringing Thanksgiving to Britain
Every year in America, families gather together to give thanks by eating copious amounts of food and consuming large quantities of alcohol, all whilst watching American football and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It’s a national holiday steeped in tradition that brings people together to celebrate all that they have, which is followed by Black Friday, the biggest and probably most dangerous shopping day of the year, celebrating everything people don’t already have. To many Americans, Thanksgiving signifies the end of autumn and the beginning of the Christmas season.
While almost everyone in America is given time off for the national holiday, American students still have lectures to attend and essays to stress over. It can be a sad prospect to see friends and family getting together and eating a delicious roast. It’s especially difficult considering that most of us barely know how to cook pasta, let alone a massive Thanksgiving meal.
If there is one thing I’ve learned though, is that British people get pretty excited at the prospect of celebrating Thanksgiving. Everyone loves celebrating extra holidays, especially ones that involve lots of food. It is a lot less daunting to prepare a full roast when friends and flat mates all chip in. While it’s not exactly the same as the US, there are actually quite a few merits to celebrating Thanksgiving in the UK.
Hosting your own Thanksgiving means you can avoid eating the strange foods that have become synonymous with the holiday. Who actually thought that putting marshmallows and yams together would be a good idea? As someone who also avoids eating turkey at all costs, being able to pick what meat to roast can be very liberating. Breaking Thanksgiving traditions can be quite delicious. One of the best aspects of a British Thanksgiving is the addition of the Yorkshire pudding to the meal. These delicious pastries are the best part of any British roast and I now believe that any roast, American or otherwise, will not be complete without them. That being said, it is extremely disappointing how impossible it is to find certain Thanksgiving treats. It’s a tragedy that you can’t find pumpkin pie in the UK, considering that it’s absolutely the best dessert of all time.
While it is not always fun to miss quality time shared with family and friends at Thanksgiving, it is quite a relief not to have to pretend to be interested in American football, or to have to face the dreaded questions from your relatives about what you plan to do with your degree, or listen to racist relatives talk about the merits of building a wall between the US and Mexico.
Being able to share the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and flat mates can be really fun, and although it’s not going to be the same as being back in the US, celebrating this holiday helps makes Leeds feel a little more like home.
Here’s my favourite Thanksgiving recipe… The Perfect Pumpkin Pie
While normally relegated to the autumn season, there is no reason why this delicious treat can’t be eaten year round. This recipe makes two pies.
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can evaporated milk
150 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
2 pastry cases 175 grams
1. Preheat oven to 180°. Mix together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a bowl.
2. Beat eggs in a separate bowl and stir in pumpkin puree and the pumpkin pie spices. Stir in the condensed milk gradually.
3. Pour mixture in the pastry cases and put it into the oven for 40-50 minutes. To test if the pie is cooked all the way through stick a knife in the centre, if it comes out clean, it is done.
4. Allow the pie to cool for 2 hours.