Guide to Thanksgiving

So you want to host a Thanksgiving dinner but you’re a clueless Aussie?

Help is at hand, dear reader.

My gorgeous friend Victor and his equally delicious hubs Jim throw a massive Thanksgiving bash every year. Victor is a Chef so you only imagine what that looks like.

I asked him to give us the skinny on this American holiday… because let’s face, this is the only skinny thing about Thanksgiving. Read on for his foolproof tips for an all-American Turkey-fest.

What are the key things that you need if you are going to host a Thanksgiving event?

Lots of time and a love of cooking! Also a big enough oven for the turkey but it also can be done on the BBQ or the spit. Enough turkey so everyone has as much as they want. Don’t skimp on the turkey.

What is thanksgiving like in the US?

Biggest holiday of the year. The holiday that everyone goes home for, the airports are intense and everyone is travel stressed. It’s a time to celebrate what we are thankful for; a very positive experience. It’s also a time when everyone sits around the table (no phones) and talks and tells all their hidden secrets (think the movie Home for the Holidays with Holly Hunter). No one is allowed to whinge!

What do people actually say at the table?

This is a loaded question. It could be anything like, ‘Pass the gravy’ to ‘I have something to tell you all’. People always say what they are grateful for – usually each person has to respond to this question. Sometimes it can be very very funny and a bit over the top and sometimes there are tears (we’ve had those several times now). It’s quite an emotional holiday as people reminisce about the past year’s experiences.

What’s the best bit/your favourite thing?

Turkey, gravy and mostly the stuffing (everyone has to have stuffing). Visions of carbs dance in your head. No one says ‘I don’t eat carbs’ if they want the true Thanksgiving experience. I can’t go past candied sweet potatoes, corn bread and buttered mash either. Another favourite thing is just the joy of people all pitching in and sharing. It’s probably the most ‘family’ experience American celebrates.

What’s the worst bit?

Family drama. Just imagine having all those people together in one room with alcohol. This is when my sister told my old world Italian father that she was marrying a black man from Nigeria (that did not go well).

Does your family have any special traditions?

We had to have the same food each year. No one wanted anything modern; just traditional dishes. Everyone pitched in to help Mom in the kitchen to prepare the food and, if we didn’t get her stuffing, all hell broke loose. Also the finding and breaking of the wish bone from the turkey is a must. Thanksgiving would not be the same without sitting on the couch afterwards watching the Bowl games (football – gridiron), like the Rose Bowl or Orange Bowl according to where you lived in the country.

Where can you buy a big ass turkey in Australia?

Thirlmere Poultry Supply (Free Range)
John Meredith
250 The Oaks Road Thirlmere NSW 2572
Farm: 02 3681 8468
Mobile: 0417 749 872
*Needs orders ahead so they can pick the turkey and get them ready for delivery.

Want to know more about Victor’s totally OTT American-Italian Thanksgiving? Read his blog about it here or go one better and attend the damn thing. You can book a seat here.

Thanksgiving falls on Thursday November 23 this year. Will you be attempting turkey and emotional honesty, yankee-style?

1 comment on “Guide to Thanksgiving

  1. OMG! As a Jersey Boy, I can say “Spot-on!” Too funny – same traditions, same joys, same horrors everywhere. Better start planning my menu…

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